When choosing a college or school, understanding and evaluating the schools financial aid information is highly important. In addition to evaluating the schools quality of education, prospective students (and/or their parents) should always review a schools financial aid policies and procedures, and make certain to have all of their financial aid questions answered before making a commitment to a particular school. Below are some financial aid questions students should have answered by all prospective schools:
1. Is the school accredited? The U.S. Department of Education requires that schools be accredited to participate in federal student aid programs.
2. What is the schools loan default rate? Students may not be able to get financial aid from some federal financial aid programs at a school that has a high default rate.
3. What financial aid assistance is available for students attending this school, including federal, state, local, private, and institutional financial aid programs?
4. What are the schools deadlines and/or procedures for submitting applications to each available financial aid program the school offers or participates in?
5. What is the schools criteria for selecting financial aid recipients, and what is the process for determining financial need, as well as the type and amount of financial aid assistance in your financial aid package?
6. What is the schools process and timeline for dispersing financial aid awards to their students?
7. What is the schools satisfactory academic progress policy? Students who fail to meet this may not be eligible to receive financial aid from some federal financial aid programs.
8. What is the schools tuition refund policy and return-of-aid policy?
9. Where is the schools financial aid office, what are the office hours, and what are the procedures for scheduling meetings and/or counseling?