August 27, 2007

Is it too late to get Financial Aid?

Posted in Stafford Loans, The Financial Aid Process at 2:06 PM by Joe From Boston

It’s crunch time – classes start in a few days and you’re desparate for cash to pay for your (or your child’s) education.

Is it too late to get Federal financial aid?  Technically, no.  Funds can be dispersed even after classes begin.


Here’s what you want to do next year to save yourself the headache.

  1. Fill in the FAFSA as soon as you can.  Financial aid is awarded on a first come-first served basis, so you want to get yours in EARLY.  I would recommend doing it in January or early February.  DO NOT wait till tax day in April!
  2. When you get your aid package, if you’ve been awarded a Stafford Loan, then start planning.  School award letter are sent out in the spring, and you’ll want to act on it sooner rather than later.  Don’t forget, now is crunch time, when the schools are struggling to certify all the people at the last minute.  By applying earlier, you’re much more likely to get a timely certification from your school.
  3. For those of you not sure what I’m talking about in item #2, Stafford Loans have to be certified by the school, no matter what lender you use.  All lenders must submit a school certification request to your school.  The school then certifies that you have been awarded the Stafford Loan by them, and they specify the dollar amount to your lender.
  4. Remember, Stafford Loan is a type of loan, not a company!  If your school does not participate in the Direct Loan program (about 30% of schools do), then you can apply with any lender that offers a Stafford MPN (Master Promissory Note).