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Your Questions About Fafsa

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Linda Your Questions About Fafsa

Linda asks…

How do I use my fafsa money to pay rent?

I dormed my freshmen year and had all the financial processes taken care of by the school and government. But I’f I want to rent a house with my friends for next school year, how would I use my fafsa money for that? Don’t we have to pay rent monthly? Sorry I’m not experienced with real estate and renting at all.

lizzyrose cropped Your Questions About Fafsa

Our pick of the answers:

The hardest part is going to find a landlord willing to rent a house to a bunch of kids with no income… Honestly. To use your aid to pay for rent you have to keep in mind many things. First, you have to have ENOUGH aid to cover all your tuition and fees and books and such in order to get a refund… THEN you must understand that the school will HOLD these funds and not send you the excess until FOUR WEEKS OR MORE after classes have started… (so you will have to have to get a job and have money saved if your rent is due before then. Also keep in mind you will have to pay for a deposit (due before you move it) AND utilitity deposits (due before you move in).

Yes, rent is due on the first of every money and you will only get a financial aid refund check ONCE a semester (in Sept and again in Feb). Most schools put your refund on a check card and you can get cash out like an ATM machine that is located on campus. It is usually difficult for young folks to BUDGET their money to last to pay rent the entire semester.

IN other words, they may get a 1,000 refund check in Sept and be able to pay the 400 rent in Oct, but won’t have any left over for rent in Nov, Dec and Jan. Won’t get another refund until Feb and you might go hungry for those months. Also keep in mind, you will need to sign a lease agreement with your friends and that means you can’t just NOT pay during the months you aren’t in school (yes, you still have to pay rent in Dec when you are out on christmas break) and you will also still need to pay in June and July when you are gone on summer break.

Donna Your Questions About Fafsa

Donna asks…

What is the best date to file your FAFSA if you want to maximize the amount of Federal Assistance you’re given?

I received my W-2′s and immediately filed my FAFSA that morning. Considering that they’d been accepting FAFSA applications for the Fall semester since the 1st of January, was the 31st too late to maximize my potential federal assistance?
My taxes were done before my FAFSA.

lizzyrose cropped Your Questions About Fafsa

Our pick of the answers:

There is only one critical date for financial aid eligibility, and that is the “priority aid deadline” at your school.

Schools do not process aid applications as they arrive – schools process aid applications beginning immediately after their own “priority aid deadline” has passed. If your school’s deadline is March 15th, they will begin processing aid on or about March 16th.

There is NO benefit to getting your aid application in first – when the school begins processing aid, they evaluate all of the applicants on the basis of financial need. Funds like Pell Grants and Stafford loans are not limited – the school can award those to everyone who qualifies. Other forms of aid are awarded from a limited pool of funds, but the school first determines how many of their applicants qualify for those forms of aid, and then allocates that aid to as many students as they possibly can.

The only aid applicants who risk getting shut out, or receiving reduced aid packages, are those students who do not meet their school’s priority aid deadline – otherwise, financial aid application is not a race.

I hope that doesn’t disappoint you.

Good luck!

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