Q: I made a mistake while trying to select options from my financial aid package. I accidentally declined my unsubsidized loan when I wanted to accept it. I would really like to have that loan as part of my package to pay for college: what can I do?
Financial aid packages come in many different shapes and sizes. Some include grants and work study. Others contain work study and student loans. A few even come with all three.
So, what do you do once you’ve received your financial aid package? You may think that what you received is what you get. However, you can actually pick and choose which components of the package you would like to utilize to pay for college.
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Unfortunately, mistakes happen when students are selecting which portions of the financial aid package they would like to keep and which they would rather forego. When you make that kind of mistake, is there any way to come back from it?
Fortunately, we have the answers.
Making Changes to Your Financial Aid Package
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If there is a portion of your financial aid package that you accidentally rejected, you must contact your college’s financial aid office to explain the situation. Generally, they will be able to add financial aid components back to your package.
In this case, if they can’t add your unsubsidized student loan back into your package, you’ll have to consider private student loans. The best place to start your search for the right private student loan is here on Fastweb. You can find options and guidance in our Student Loan Center
For students that just received their financial aid award letter, it’s worth mentioning here that you don’t have to accept every component listed. Although this particular question points to a mistake that was made, you can see that they had the option to accept or reject parts of their financial aid package.
However, student loans that are not accepted will not be replaced with grants or work study. It will simply leave a gap between what you can pay, how much the college costs, and the financial help that you were awarded.
In addition to rejecting certain parts of your financial aid package, you can also appeal the offer as a whole. Colleges and universities are anticipating an increase in volume in the amount of financial aid appeals
they receive this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If your family experienced financial hardship or a change in circumstances because of COVID, you should report this to your school. It could drastically affect your financial aid offer – for the better.
After all, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA
) only asked for financial information from 2019. Job loss, furlough, medical expenses, and caring for extended family, are circumstances that will make students eligible for more financial aid.
Differences in Student Loans
The student that posed the question above is wise in accepting an unsubsidized student loan offer back into their package. Federal student loans have the lowest interest rates, which means that students will owe less over time on these loans than private student loans.
This is especially true right now, when interest rates are at a historic low of 0% thanks to the multiple COVID relief bills
passed by the federal government. Borrowers will be able to take advantage of this low rate through September 30, 2021, as of now.
The U.S. Department of Education provides two types of federal loans for students. The first are subsidized loans, which go to needier students and have the interest paid by the government while students are enrolled in school.
Unsubsidized student loans are available to anyone. You just need to fill out the FAFSA
to be eligible. While these student loans accrue interest while students are in college, the current interest rate of 0% is allowing students to save money.
For students that max out their subsidized and unsubsidized student loan options, private loans are also an option. These help borrowers bridge the gap between what college costs, their financial aid package, and the amount that is still needed to pay tuition, fees, and room and board.
Paying for School
Paying for college oftentimes requires students and their families to get a little creative. Essentially, paying for school is like creating a patchwork quilt. Some of the money comes from savings, some of the money comes in the form of financial aid, and some is pulled from other resources.
Take advantage of federal loan opportunities in financial aid packages. Continue the scholarship search beyond the junior and senior years. There are many scholarship opportunities for college students.
Part time jobs
are also an option in paying for college. Not only do they provide income to students, but many companies offer employee tuition assistance
. These funds contribute directly to a student’s college costs – in addition to the income they’re earning.
If you need further help in creating your patchwork quilt of paying for school, check out more of our expert advice and resources
If you have financial aid questions or concerns, Finaid.org is a helpful resource. Check out their “Answering Your Questions
” section to see if your concern has already been addressed, or to ask a new question.