Have you filed your FAFSA yet? Don’t worry, I haven’t either. I’m still waiting on my mom to do her taxes. You’re allowed to file January 1 and it’s better to do it as close to then as possible so you can get everything squared away and have access to the most money. But if you can’t file until now or even the end of March, you’re still okay. It’s when you’re waiting until June or July that you should get worried.
Myth: If my parents make too much money, I can’t get any financial aid
Fact: You won’t qualify for nice things like Pell grants, but you can still qualify for federal loans. Depending on which year you’re in, you can get a nice chunk of tuition covered with a Stafford loan. I was able to get a subsidized loan, meaning the government pays the interest while in school. Unsubsidized you have to pay, but the interest rate is incredibly low.
Myth: I don’t have to worry about paying loan interest while in school.
Fact: Depends on your loan. If you get a loan with no accruing interest until after you graduate, then you don’t have to. But most loans do accrue interest. If you have a Parent PLUS loan, pay that interest right away. Better yet, don’t get another one of these loans unless you really really have to. They are a ripoff. The interest rate is incredibly high and if you let it build up while you’re in school, you’ll be amazed at the amount owed by graduation. Multiple that by four…ouch.
Myth: I don’t have to file scholarships and grants on my taxes.
Fact: Sometimes you do. It depends on what kind of scholarship. If you get mailed a 1099 form, you definitely do, if not, you still might. Always ask your financial aid office just in case.