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Questions to Ask Your Financial Aid Advisor

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Your college financial aid advisor is your primary source of information regarding paying for college. Whether you are in the stage of just choosing a school now or whether you are already attending school, it is important to fully understand your financial aid situation so you can make educated decisions about student loans and about affording college. Read on to learn about some of the key questions you should ask your financial aid advisor at different stages in the college process.

Questions to Ask Your Financial Aid Advisor

  • How much are room and board, books, tuition and any other fees for attending school here?

It is important to know the total amount that it will cost to go to a given school. Books and room and board or meal plan fees can add thousands of dollars onto the cost of your annual tuition. When comparing different schools or deciding if you can afford to attend a given school, it is essential to understand exactly what you will be paying.

  • What types of grants and scholarships can your school offer me?

Grants and scholarships are the ideal ways to pay for college if you and your parents can’t foot the bill out of pocket, because grants and scholarships- unlike student loans- don’t have to be paid back. Most schools offer some type of grants or scholarships that are either need based or merit based. You may also be able to apply for additional scholarships if you just ask.

  • What student loan lenders should I work with and what are the different types of student loans?

Not all student loans are created equal. Some government student loans have lower interest rates or better repayment terms than private loans. However, some private loans may be more willing to lend, especially if you need to borrow a lot for school. Ask the student financial aid office what lenders they have a relationship as you may be able to get a better deal if you go through the school’s lenders, but be sure to also shop around on your own and compare costs before taking a student loan.

  • What will my total loan payments be after I graduate if I borrow to attend?

Too many students take loan after loan without stopping to add up what the total will be or stopping to figure out what their monthly payments will be after they graduate. Don’t be surprised by a $1000 a month minimum loan payment- find out exactly what you will have to pay back if you borrow to go to school.

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