Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) via www.studentaid.gov each year is the first step you must take to apply for federal financial aid.
After you have completed the FAFSA and received a notice of your federal aid eligibility from the school, you may be required to complete to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling to receive any loans you have been awarded. Loan counseling and the MPN may be accessed via https://studentaid.gov/h/manage-loans.
When borrowing a federal Direct Loan for the first time, you are required to complete Entrance Counseling to ensure that you understand the financial obligation you are taking on. During Entrance Counseling, important information about your loans will be provided to you, including a review of the loan terms, repayment requirements and your rights and responsibilities.
Although you may have completed Entrance Counseling if you borrowed a federal loan for undergraduate school, as a graduate/professional student, you must complete Entrance Counseling again selecting the Graduate/Professional Student option. Loans for graduate/professional students have different features than loans for undergraduates, which is why new counseling is required. If you have any questions that arise from counseling, you may contact the Financial Aid Office firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you will borrow an Unsubsidized Direct Loan and/or a Grad PLUS Direct Loan, a Master Promissory Note (MPN) must be completed for each of the two loan programs. The MPN may be completed at any time after you receive your award notification from the school. A loan amount is not required on the MPN itself as it serves as master promissory note under which all loans you request during enrollment will be processed.
In additional to federal student loan entrance counseling, which new borrowers are required to complete before receiving a loan, the Department of Education will soon require borrowers to complete an Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement. While implementation of the requirement has been temporarily postponed, the counseling tool is available and we encourage students to utilize it.
The purpose of this additional counseling requirement is to ensure that students are assessing their loans at least annually to understand the impact on their financial future as well as equip students with the tools and information needed to make a financial plan for repayment, which may even mean reducing the amounts borrowed, if possible.
Those borrowing for the first time will be acknowledging that they understand their responsibility to repay the loan(s).
Those with existing federal student loans will be acknowledging that they understand how much they owe and what their remaining eligibility is.
The Repayment Simulator is an interactive loan repayment calculator that allows you to easily see what your loan payments will be under each of the federal loan repayment plans. If you log in, the monthly payment estimates will be based on your current federal loan balance. If you do not log in, you may use the calculator entering loan data manually. You may also add loans to view what your estimated payments will be based on additional loans you may borrow. The Repayment Simulator allows you to enter an expected income amount to calculate what your payments will be under an Income Based Repayment plan using different variables, such as income, family size and tax filing status. The Repayment Simulator is one of the tools highly recommended by the Financial Aid Office to use throughout enrollment for long-term planning.
The Repayment Simulator Wizard may be used to help identify the best repayment plan based on your circumstances and loan portfolio.
Student loan Exit Counseling is required to be completed when a student is graduating or separating from at least 1/2 time enrollment. During Exit Counseling, your federal student loan obligations will be reviewed and you will be required to complete a quiz based on the information provided during counseling. You current federal loan balances will be populated in the estimated repayment section and you will be able to view your estimated monthly loan payments under each of the federal repayment plans to help you determine which plan will best fit your financial needs.
Since students are provided with a comprehensive loan review when completing federal Exit Counseling online, the Financial Aid Office recommends completing online Exit Counseling prior to meeting with our office for an in-person loan counseling session. Students who have completed online counseling in preparation for an in-person meeting are more prepared to focus on specific payment plans and questions resulting in more productive sessions.
- Make changes at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa:
1. Click on the “Login” button and enter your FSA ID.
2. On the “My FAFSA” page, click “Make FAFSA Corrections.”
3. Create a save key.
4. Change your information.
5. Submit your new information.
Additional Information for Parents Completing the FAFSA
The key to completing a FAFSA with a parent(s) when you aren’t able to complete it at the same time is the FAFSA Save Key. The Save Key is a short, temporary password that can be shared to provide a parent(s) access to update your FAFSA.
- Start a FAFSA at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. Click on Start A New FAFSA.
- On the “Login” page, you can start a FAFSA with your FSA ID (a parent can start a FAFSA with student’s name, Social Security Number and date of birth.
- Whoever starts the FAFSA will be prompted to create a Save Key. Make a note of it.
- Whenever the first person is done with their part, save the FAFSA and close out of it.
- Give the other person the Save Key. Next, that person can use the Save Key to access the partially completed FAFSA to provide their information. A parent can access the FAFSA by entering the student’s identifiers on the “Login” screen and never needs to use your FSA ID.
- When everyone is done with their parts of the FAFSA, select SUBMIT MY FAFSA NOW on the “Sign and Submit” page. You are not done until you see the “Confirmation” page, which you should read and save for your records. If your parent has another child in school, there is a link on the “Confirmation” page to start a new FAFSA for that child, allowing your parent to transfer much of their information and save time.
It is very important that you and your parent create and use your own FSA IDs (used to sign the FAFSA). The FSA ID serves as a legal signature and should not be shared. Allowing someone else to create your FSA ID is not allowed and can create problems and delays with your financial aid. For more information or to create your own FSA ID, go to https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm.