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Commonly Asked Questions about the Financial Aid Process


Many students and parents preparing for college have questions about paying for college. I have compiled a list of financial aid questions and answers below!

When is the earliest that I can submit the FAFSA?

The earliest you can submit is January 1 of the year you apply to college.

I think my family makes too much money, so I don’t think I will be eligible for aid. Should I apply for the FAFSA anyway?

Yes! Many college bound students and families make the mistake of thinking they won’t qualify for financial aid. There is no cost to send in the FAFSA form, so fill it out with your family and send it in today!

Do I have to be enrolled into a college or university before filling out the FAFSA?

No, you can fill out the form (as your tax information will not depend on the college you attend) while you are waiting to hear back from the admission department.

Who is responsible for paying back my college loans?

Ultimately, you are responsible for paying your student loans. You are the student and you signed a contract. However, if your parents co-signed on your student loans, they are responsible too. Also, if your parents were approved and accepted the Federal PLUS loan, they are responsible as well. So, be wise (you can always take a smaller amount offered to you).

When do I have to pay my loans back?

It will depend on the terms and conditions of the loan. Typically, you will receive a grace period of 6 months. Once the grace period is over, you will start receiving a monthly bill.

Do I have to start paying back my loans immediately if I take a break from college?

This will depend on your student loans. Certain loan programs have grace periods before students must repay their loans. During the grace period, you don’t have to make any payments. If your grace period is ending, you may be eligible to apply for an extension (before the grace period ends). However, if your grace period is ending and you aren’t eligible for an extension while on break, you will have to start making student loan payments.

I received a scholarship from my high school, do I have to notify the financial aid office?

Yes, you must notify the financial aid office. Please note that the college may adjust your financial aid package. Your scholarship may be used instead of a portion of your loans or grants. Be sure to ask questions, if you are unsure of your financial aid package.

Will I be required to pay back my loans if I signed the promissory note at age 17?

Usually, a minor wouldn’t be required to abide by any contracts signed. However, the Higher Education Act makes it possible for students who are minors to sign for student loans and be held responsible for repayment. Make sure you know what you are signing up for, students and parents!



If you know students or families preparing for college who need scholarships, share these tips and strategies!

About the author

Ashley Hill is a Scholarship Search Strategist who is passionate about teaching stressed and overwhelmed corporate moms how to pay less for their college bound child’s college education so that they can help their children to get into their best-fit college with ease. She is the author of The Ultimate Guide for Finding and Winning More Money for College Now and The Ultimate Guide for Finding and Winning More Money for College Now: Nursing Edition.

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