Financial aid tips

Summer term can be an expensive an exhausting endeavor, but it can also get you a lot closer to graduation. However, it is easy to forget in the madness of the regular school year that you need to make arrangements for financial aid.

The Financial Aid Office does not automatically assume that you are attending summer classes when they make up your award letter. By the way, it’s award, not re-ward, for those of you who are confused.

The Office of Student Financial Aid processes the awards based on what you told them on your original application, called a FAFSA, and if you didn’t say anything about going to school in the summer then they are not going to assume that you are.

The best thing to do if you did not originally state that you wanted aid in the summer is to go to the Financial Aid window in Neuberger Hall and ask to add summer term to your award.

Most often, they can let you know if you are eligible for additional funds for summer.

If you are graduating this spring, though, you have more important things to remember.

Most students do not get through their entire college career without taking out student loans, and after you graduate you need to do some things to ensure that the repayment process goes smoothly.

First, you need to find out where your loans are held, meaning what financial institution you will be beholden to for the next 10 to 15 years. If you have only attended PSU, then you have most likely received all of your loans from Direct Loans. The first step is to call them and let them know that you have finished school and are ready to get some advice on consolidation and repayment.

While you may be thinking to yourself, “Maybe I can just not tell them I graduated and then I won’t have to start paying it back,” you are wrong. They know, they always know. If you go that route, not only will they find you, but you won’t be prepared to start paying the money back, which will cause you many headaches.

You may be asking yourself, “How can I start paying back my student loans right after graduation?” Well you don’t have to. The grace period after graduation is six months. Beyond that, you must contact your lender if you still cannot pay. They can work with you and either reduce the payments based on your income or offer you forbearance, which is another type of deferment. The only way for them to help you, however, is for you to call them and let them know what is going on.

The best advice for dealing with student loans is to be prepared, because those student loans don’t repay themselves.