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FAQs on Scholarships and Finanical Aid

FAQs on Scholarships and Finanical Aid

Response from:

I probably don’t qualify for financial aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
Response from:

Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don’t qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need. The FAFSA form is free. There is no good excuse for not applying.

How are scholarships judged?
Response from:

The judges’ first evaluation of your application is a quick one—usually only 15 to 30 seconds. Most applications don’t get past this quick but important first stage. Give your application one last review to be sure yours makes it through.

Do you qualify? Nothing makes it easier for judges to say “no” than an applicant who doesn’t meet the minimum requirements.

Is your application neat? An application with coffee stains or messy handwriting won’t make the cut. Are all of the required documents included? Be sure you’re not leaving out references, transcripts, photographs or anything else the application requires.

Are all of the questions answered? Scan your application to see if you’ve left anything out.

After an application makes it past the first round, the judges separate “OK” from “great.” The applications that make it through are those that have thorough and well-thought-out responses.

Make sure your responses are complete and answer the question. It’s very important that your grammar and spelling are correct, so check and doublecheck all of your essays.

Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?
Response from:

No. Parents are, however, responsible for the Federal PLUS loans. Parents will only be responsible for your educational loans if they co-sign your loan. In general you and you alone are responsible for repaying your educational loans.

You do not need to get your parents to cosign your federal student loans, even if you are under age 18, as the ‘defense of infancy’ does not apply to federal student loans. (The defense of infancy presumes that a minor is not able to enter into contracts, and considers any such contract to be void. There is an explicit exemption to this principle in the Higher Education Act with regard to federal student loans.) However, lenders may require a cosigner on private student loans if your credit history is insufficient or if you are underage. In fact, many private student loan programs are not available to students under age 18 because of the defense of infancy.

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If your parents (or grandparents) want to help pay off your loan, you can have your billing statements sent to their address. Likewise, if your lender or loan servicer provides an electronic payment service, where the monthly payments are automatically deducted from a bank account, your parents can agree to have the payments deducted from their account. But your parents are under no obligation to repay your loans. If they forget to pay the bill on time or decide to cancel the electronic payment agreement, you will be held responsible for the payments, not them.

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