We asked FastWeb members to pass along their advice on financial aid, based on their personal experiences. Here's what they said:
"It is NOT your school's responsibility to keep track of your account, it's yours! If you think that something is not right about your financial aid, check it out. Even if the school's mistake seems to be favoring you, you are ultimately bound to regret not straightening it out. You must be aware of what is going on in every aspect of your education."
-- Jacob Grindle, University of Maine at Farmington
"Attend class all the time. You may not think that going to class has anything to do with financial aid, but if you get put on probation, there is a chance that you could have your financial aid revoked. Financial aid is a wonderful thing, don't take it for granted."
-- Jennifer Trout, University of North Dakota
"Make a list at the beginning of each semester with all the due dates of your financial aid, bills. Be responsible with your time and money."
-- Betina Rawls, Marshall University
"Try to do all your financial aid paperwork and counseling sessions before the school year starts. It'll help you to avoid long lines and long waiting periods. Take care of your business before the last minute, because if you wait too long you might miss out on your chance to get financial aid for the semester."
-- Tamara Robertson, Tennessee State University
"There is a lot of financial aid out there to help you manage your way through school. Do not stop going to the student finance office, even when things seem helpless. Keep pressuring these offices to help you. Show them that you are serious."
-- Joandia Lopez, Atlantic Union College
"Get started with financial aid as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the harder it may be. My financial aid office might have lost my form because a lot of people were signing up very late. Stay on top of the progress of your application. Don't let a month go by without checking up on your status."
-- Jenny Pogantsch, Milwaukee Area Technical College
"Make sure you apply for your loan way in advance, even several months before the new school year starts, so that you won't be burdened with financial problems when you start college. Also, while you're in high school, get a job and start saving for the future."
-- Kimberly Petras, Texas Tech University
"A financial aid counselor is one of the greatest assets you have at your college. He or she has the ability to help you in so many ways. I couldn't figure out the all the things I needed to do and got guidance from my university's financial aid counselor. She helped."
-- Peter Baksis, Utah Valley State University
"Make sure that you talk to everyone you can at your school to find out if all your paperwork has gone through. Hand-deliver all your paperwork to the school. Don't mail it. They could claim that they lost the paperwork in the mail. It has happened to me and it could happen to you."
-- Michael Davis, St. Ambrose University
"Let your parents help you, at least with the financial aid. They have probably filled out more forms than you. Don't eat while you fill out applications. Always make more than one copy."
-- Jennifer Knepper, Wilbur D. Mills University Studies High School
"Never assume anything. Find out what is going on with your financial aid and take control of the situation. See if there is something you should be doing. Don't wait until the last minute either. They could charge you a penalty for late payments. If something does not seem right, ask about it. It will save many headaches and much frustration."
-- Cynthia Figgins, Northwestern Oklahoma State University
"Save all bills, receipts, and any correspondences you may have with the school because there is a good chance they will mess things up, and you might need to have proof that payment was made. If all else fails, threatening to go to the top gets amazing results."
-- Tara Hardrath, North Central Technical College