10 Questions to Ask at Your Campus Financial Aid Office

Financial aid can be overwhelming because of all the rules and regulations. We've listed some important questions to ask your campus financial aid office that should help. Schools offering Accounting & Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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Essential Financial Aid Questions

Attending college is not cheap, and most students rely on financial aid to cover the costs. However, financial aid is full of lingo that can be difficult to decipher and strange forms that need to be signed. Make an appointment with the financial aid office, and get a handle on the questions you want to ask before you go. Here are a few suggestions.

1. Am I Eligible for Work Study?

Not all financial aid offices include work study in your financial aid package. While it's your responsibility to mark it off in your FAFSA package, you can make an amendment with the financial aid office if you forgot. Also, some professors use work-study students to keep offices organized, but don't bother to look through the student worker listing. Take control and ask the financial aid office if there are any professors or school offices that would be interested in your services.

2. Do You Offer Any Scholarships?

It's always a good idea to ask the financial aid office if there are any scholarships that the college offers. While you can look on the college's website, there is the possibility that the financial aid office has a few in their back pocket that they save for a certain type of student.

3. What Are These Additional Fees?

There are always fees. Colleges make money and run because of the fees you're not asking about. Financial aid is the place to ask why you're paying for science lab fees when you are a history major. Don't know what the health services fee is, or why you need to pay for it when you're on your parents' health insurance? Well, now's the time to ask!

4. Why Did I Receive a Check from You?

Sometimes you'll encounter instances where your financial aid package exceeds tuition and rooming costs. A refund will be processed and a check will be cut in your name. This money is typically excess loan money. If you're lucky, it may be scholarship or grant money.

5. What Do I Do With The Refund?

The refund money can be used to pay for additional school fees, meal plans, books or supplies. If your tuition covered all of this, it may be a better idea to send it back to the lending institution to pay off part of your principle loan. It's not usually a good idea to spend it on unnecessary things, like spring break, clothes or other personal items.

6. Do You Have an Emergency Loan?

Some colleges have a fund for emergency purposes. Students can apply for a loan if the need is valid. Typically, this money cannot be used for books or tuition. It's best to discuss it with your financial aid officer so that you can be aware of its existence and uses if an emergency does occur.

7. Can I Cover Three Semesters with Financial Aid?

So you want to speed up your program by taking summer courses? Check with your financial aid office to see if you can split your financial aid package three ways. Along with this, see if summer courses are even covered by financial aid. Check out the next question to see why.

8. How Many Credits Are Considered Full-time for Financial Aid Eligibility?

Depending on the college and degree program you're attending, you may find that full-time is measured differently. Along with those variables are summer courses. Some colleges only allow you to take a certain number of credits during the summer months. Is this enough to meet their full-time expectations? Some colleges allow you to take fewer credits, but still consider it full-time because it takes place during a smaller amount of time.

9. Can I Use My Financial Aid to Study Abroad?

Many colleges encourage students to take advantage of studying in another country. Along with absorbing the culture and learning a new language, you'll enrich your education. If you decide you'd like to, work closely with your financial aid office to find out if your financial aid can be transferred to the university abroad.

10. Am I Eligible for the Income-Based Repayment Plan?

As you're preparing to graduate, the reality of student loans are going to weigh down on you. Ask your financial aid office if you'll be eligible for this federal loan repayment plan. This plan bases what you'll pay each month toward your student loans on your salary. If it's not repaid within 25 years, it's dismissed!

Now that you know what to ask, see which colleges offer the best financial aid packages.

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