The Crusader Online

November 02, 2012
Vol. 54 No. 8

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Staff explains financial aid

Located on University Avenue, the Financial Aid Office is a familiar place for most students. Statistics show that 90 percent of students receive financial aid on the Susquehanna campus. The office is responsible for student employment and everything else that falls under the financial aid category.

Many students receive financial aid, but how many know and understand the process? Katie Erdley, assistant director of financial aid, stresses, "financial literacy," which is being aware of spending and savings that will keep a student afloat during their college experience. It first starts off with what she calls, "a need versus a want."

"You don't need to borrow money for your pencils," she said. Erdley said that the first step in the process is that families should complete the Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the federal aid awarded by the government based on family income and personal income on a need basis. Erdley also said how many families qualify for aid even though they might not think they did.

After the FAFSA is complete, the financial aid office tries to match the difference between the need-based aid provided by the government along with on-campus aid, such as scholarships, grants and loans. Erin Wolfe, associate director of financial aid, said there are private loans and plus loans. Private loans deal with the student directly and usually offer low interest rates, and plus loans are directly with a parent. Wolfe also said that loans are not a bad idea for financial aid because they are repayable.

Erdley said, "There is no reason why any student with federal loans should be in default because they do so many things; they are willing to work with you to make a minimum monthly payment."

The topic of financial aid can raise a lot of questions for students. Erdley said, "We are always happy to meet with our students, we'd much rather have the student or parents come in or give us a call so we can get it squared away." Financial aid in general usually stays almost the same throughout the four years of college, but things could change. Erdley said that some situations could affect financial aid, such as tragedies or a sibling who graduated college. If any of these things were to happen, she said that communication with the financial aid office is important and that they are here to help.

The financial aid season is almost here. On December 15 of every year, the Financial Aid Office sends out a memo to every student's home. The memo includes packet with instructions inside on how to renew financial aid. It is imperative that the family completes the requests so that deadlines are met.

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