Law School Discussion

I'm Clueless with Fin. Aid stuff-- any advice?

I'm Clueless with Fin. Aid stuff-- any advice?
« on: April 05, 2006, 09:17:46 AM »
So my scores were good enough to get me into and waitlisted at Top 30 schools, but not good enough to warrant a scholarship.

I have submitted my FAFSA and Need Access Form.  Unfortunately, no one has officially sent me my financial letter, so I don't know exactly how much in Federal loans I'm going to receive.  I'm assuming that I'm going to need more than the max. Fed. loans-- should I start applying to Sallie Mae right now?

Also, FAFSA only sent me a confirmation e-mail wi/ my expected contribution amount.  Is this all I am supposed to receive from them?

Need Access didn't send me anything... I'm wondering if I filled it out incorrectly.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

wunder

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Re: I'm Clueless with Fin. Aid stuff-- any advice?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2006, 09:34:26 AM »
Yes, FAFSA only sends you a confirmation email.  If you want you can log back in and it should say something about when your app was received/processed.  If it's been processed you should be good to go.

Need Access doesn't send you anything either.  Log back in and you can see when your stuff was processed.  (I actually called them the other day to check on this and they were very helpful)

Don't start applying for private loans until May/June.  That seems to be what most schools are telling folks.

I filled out my forms back in February and have only heard back from one school yet.  Give them a little time.  I think the Financial Aid stuff will start heating up once the admissions cycle has settled down (mid- to late April).

Re: I'm Clueless with Fin. Aid stuff-- any advice?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2006, 09:36:59 AM »
Thank you very much for your help-- I feel much better about this!

Re: I'm Clueless with Fin. Aid stuff-- any advice?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2006, 01:18:56 PM »
Conveniently, I work in financial aid and I'm going to take out the max amount I'm eligible for in loans.  I can tell you that the max federal Stafford loans for your first year of LS will be $18,500.  Up to $8500 of that could be subsidized, depending on financial need, which just means that the gov't will pay the interest on it while you're in school.  There is talk in the financial aid world that the federal max for Fed loans in LS will go up to $20,500 per year starting the following year, so you'll likely end up qualifying for a total (over 3 years) of $59,500 in Fed Stafford loans.

Here's another good tip:  Congress may approve grad and law students to qualify to take out the federal PLUS loan (which is supposed to be a parent loan, so keeping the same name is stupid, but it's still a good loan)--which means you COULD end up with 2 different Federal loans (Stafford and PLUS) covering your whole school career.  You can borrow PLUS loans up to the same max as private loans, and the interest rate will be better, unless you have awesome credit--private loan interest rates can be brutal if your credit is anything but perfect, seriously.  Chances are you would do better with a PLUS, which will be at a new fixed rate of 8.5%. 

These changes won't take place until July 1st at the earliest, so I am planning on waiting until then to do any loan pre-approvals.  I will be jumping on the PLUS loan if that goes through, so i don't want random private loan credit inquiries before then.

Feel free to email me if you have questions--I love financial aid (because I am a nerd, which is also why I'm going to law school--yay!).

Re: I'm Clueless with Fin. Aid stuff-- any advice?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2006, 02:46:34 PM »
tag.  thanks, bossfan.  good stuff.

Re: I'm Clueless with Fin. Aid stuff-- any advice?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2006, 04:00:04 PM »
Check the websites of every school, along with the info they sent you when they admitted you.  Some have other requirements or school-specific forms.  If you're unsure, send a short, polite email to the financial aid office.

The EFC that you got sent after submitting the FAFSA is how much the federal government expects you to pay for school next year.  It is NOT what you are expected to get in grants, loans, etc.  For the most part, you should completely ignore the EFC listed.  Schools take their own factors (including family wealth) into account.

Don't worry about loans until after you've decided on a school and put down a deposit.

Re: I'm Clueless with Fin. Aid stuff-- any advice?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2006, 07:05:21 PM »
One thing about the Grad PLUS loan as of now:  it will not have a grace period after you graduate.  So it might not be the best option for that reason.  FWIW. Hopefully, the feds will come out with better guidelines soon!