When Will I Get My Financial Aid

With financial aid, it’s not one size fits all. When you receive your financial aid depends on several factors, including the type of financial aid you qualify for and what you’ve accepted.

If you’re among the 43.2 million American borrowers with some type of federal student loan debt, you may be wondering, “When is financial aid awarded for fall 2024?” Understanding how financial aid — including grants and student loans — works can help you prepare for repayment as you save for college.

Student Loans and Different Grants

When are financial aid packages released? Grants will most likely come from your college or university. These educational institutions account for about 44% of all grants. Typically, your school will provide you with your grant fund in two disbursements.

This is commonly once a semester or at the beginning of your academic school year and then again in the middle of it. If parents decide to take out a Direct PLUS Loan to assist their child with paying for college, funds are provided by the same schedule as any grant program.

When taking out student loans, there are designated times when you’ll receive funds. For example, undergraduate students in their first year of college may have to wait 30 days before they can access their funds. These 30 days usually start after the first day of your initial semester in school. After this 30-day waiting period, your institution can begin to disperse some of the funds. If you’re unsure about whether this applies to your college or university, contact the financial aid office to find out.

But when do financial aid packages come out for returning students? It’s usually several weeks into your fall or spring semester. It may be 10 days before the current semester begins or 30 days after your classes start.

Since you can use private and federal student loans to pay for off-campus room and board (and on-campus housing), it’s important to have all these details ironed out before signing a lease agreement. You may need to have a couple of months’ rent set aside before the start of the school year.

Direct Loans

When do financial aid awards come out for other loans? Students who are borrowing Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans for the first time may have to complete a type of entrance counseling. This may be a requirement for your school to give you any of your loan money.

Graduate students, however, have to complete entrance counseling if this is the first time they’re taking out Direct PLUS loans. However, if parents take out Direct PLUS loans for their children, they don’t have to go through this type of counseling.

Entrance counseling works to educate students about student loans, ensuring they understand the loan’s terms and conditions. Through this counseling, students learn about their responsibilities with each loan, along with their rights.

Entrance counseling explains the ins and outs of loans, how interest accrues, the different ways students can repay their loans, and what happens should they default on their loans or can’t repay them. This counseling works to empower students so they know exactly what’s expected of them when it comes time to pay back their student loans.

Receiving Work-Study

Work-Study provides students in need of financial aid with part-time jobs. Typically, these students receive payment once a month, if not more frequently. It all depends on your institution, as some schools pay weekly or even bi-weekly.

Regardless, schools have to pay students directly for their work-study. They might send payments to a bank account or let students use their pay for items such as room and board, tuition, and so forth, applying any payment directly to a student account.

Direct PLUS Loans for Parents

For parents who apply for any Direct PLUS Loans, it’s common for a college or university to credit a child’s school account. This money will then be used for room and board, tuition, and general fees, among other school-based expenses, similar to work-study funds. After all expenses are paid, there may be money left in the student’s fund. 

If this is the case, the school typically sends it to the parents. The school may also ask the parents if they can give the money directly to the student to use at their discretion.

Whenever you take out money for college — whether you’re a student or parent — you’ll be notified of loan disbursements and payments. This helps you to maintain records of each payment.

Along with notification of these disbursements is an explanation about how you can cancel your loan if you no longer need it. This might be a full or partial cancellation, all depending on your current financial needs. Your loan provider will also confirm if you’ve received the funds or not, so always keep an eye out for this correspondence.

You Haven’t Received Funds — Now What?

If you find that you have yet to receive your financial aid, you might be wondering how to pay for books and other school supplies. Ten days before the start of your current school semester, your school will look to see if you’re eligible to start receiving funds from your financial aid.

Your school will also check to see if you have any type of credit balance, with money left over after your school expenses have been paid for by financial aid. Your school is most likely required to send you this money within 14 days, but there’s a chance it might be applied to future charges at your institution. This includes tuition, books, and any other fees or expenses for your school.

If you have funds left in your account, your school has to give you your credit balance or enough funds to pay for any school-related expenses, whichever is less. Speak to your financial aid office about potential bookstore vouchers if your financial aid isn’t currently available. You might be able to get any necessary school materials this way.

Even schools with voucher systems have to allow you to opt out of this if you’d rather receive a check from your school. Your school can argue this, but they need to prove that there is a health or safety reason and/or that the materials aren’t available elsewhere for purchase.

Work With College Funding Professionals

When do financial aid packages come out? Normally, twice a year, and at the beginning of each semester. However, it can be difficult to understand when to apply for financial aid and what to expect, and when. This is where College Funding Professionals come into play. Our experts will walk you through everything from completing the FAFSAs to understanding the different types of loans available to college students and their parents.

Join our free online Facebook Group to gain access to the best college planning advice anywhere. You can also contact us to speak with one of our trusted professionals about your college application journey. Call us at 201-285-7890 or email us at INFO@CollegeFunding.com for assistance with your college or university.

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