Last month following a post I wrote, we received this comment from Todd:
"I just got my SAR back and it says thay my EFC is 09988 and that I don't qualify for any federal aid, which I figured might be the case. I am 40 year old single adult who makes decent money but unfortunately don't have the money to be writing big checks for my education.
"The last time I thought about school I remember seeing the Stafford Loan as the one type of aid I did qualify for, however, this does not even appear to be the case this time.
"Before I make a committment I am trying to get an idea of what type of loans may be available(if any) and the schools I am looking at are too busy trying to "sell me" as if I was buying a car.
"My credit isn't all that great and while I have recovered from a severe finacial crisis I am not certain that I would be able to qualify for any type of private, unsubsidized loan.
"How can I get these questions answered? It would be helpful to know before making any final decisions just how I am going to pay for school. That will save a lot of heartache and disapointment."
I let Todd know that I wanted to give his post a bit more time and attention. But what I really wanted to do was offer some advice from the pros—the financial aid directors themselves. Here at Wells Fargo, we work with financial aid folks every day. So we asked a few for their thoughts on Todd’s situation.
Today’s insight comes from Sarah Sell, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.:
"Congratulations on making the decision to return to school! As a student once myself, I understand how overwhelming and sometimes confusing applying for Federal Student Aid can be.
"Although it may depend on the college you choose to attend, you should be eligible for a Stafford Loan . The amount you are eligible to borrow will depend on several factors: your current grade level, the cost of attendance at the school you plan to attend, how many credit hours you take, etc. I recommend that you make an appointment to sit down and speak with a financial aid representative at one of the schools you are interested in and go over your options. That representative should be able to tell you exactly what you will qualify for (if you’ve sent your FAFSA information to that particular school) and without trying to sell you. If you did not send your FAFSA information to that school, you may want to do that before you schedule your meeting.
"What the SAR was informing you of is that, based on your EFC , you are not eligible for a federal Pell Grant , but you may be eligible for other types of (federal) aid. That’s where the schools come in. Once you have applied and been admitted to an institution, once they receive your FAFSA information, they should mail you your Financial Aid Award Letter, which details exactly what you are eligible for in federal aid (which may only be the Stafford Loan—subsidized and/or unsubsidized).
"Hope you find this information useful! Good luck with all you do!"
On Wednesday, we’ll continue the conversation with other financial aid pros—stay tuned!