Wednesday, May 15, 2013 4:42 PM jstone

Tonight's Top Ten Categoy ... Things You Need to Know About Using Your Financial Aid ...

 Okay, I couldn’t resist adding one more to the myriad of over used Top Ten Lists out there (David Letterman what have you wrought in our society!!).   But this is a pretty important one to at least take a look at because it’s all about what you need to do to insure your financial aid actually materializes to pay your tuition bill and actually is accessible for you to pay your own bills.  So… (drumroll....)

#10 – You will not receive a bill - it’s true..…not in the sense of a bill mailed or emailed to you directly.  What you will get is an email that a July 1 billing (due August 1) for charges for the Fall 2014 term is available for you to review on the Student Information System (SIS). 

#9 – You may not need to actually pay the bill – if you have accepted enough financial aid between loans and scholarship funds to fully cover the Fall term (i.e. that’s 50% of your total aid for the year) your financial aid will appear on the July 1 billing statement as anticipated aid.  Provided you have enough accepted financial aid to cover the bill, you will not need to make any payments on the due date of August 1.  However, the only way that your financial aid appears on your bill is if you have completed the financial aid process by submitting all required tax returns and the Notification and Confirmation form.

#8 – You may need to actually pay the bill – if you have declined financial aid, intend to pay on your own or have not accepted enough financial aid to cover the Fall term bill you will owe a balance that must be paid by August 1, 2013.

#7 – There are consequences (bad things) if you do not pay the bill in full by the deadline… including late fees added to your account and holds (including a registration hold if the bill is not paid by the time you get to YLS which will prohibit you from registering with your class and getting your course schedule).

#6 – Your loans are not really loans yet…there are steps that need to happen in the summer to actually “set up” your loans.  You will get an email from Student Financial Services mid-summer (usually mid to late July) instructing you to complete loan paperwork electronically on the SIS system including a promissory note, truth-in-lending statements (TILAs), Title IV authorizations and an entrance counseling session (which are not counseling sessions at all but an online information survey).   Documents will differ depending on what type of loan(s) you have and you  will also need to complete separate promissory notes for each loan (including both the federal Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate Plus loans).  

#5 – The Asset Verification Form is the final piece of the financial aid puzzle - this form must be completed within the window of after July 1, 2013 and by August 1, 2013 (no earlier and no later) allowing us to substantiate the estimate you made on Need Access for your total assets (and upon which we based the asset contribution in your aid award).  Depending on the balances reported on this Verification form aid awards will be adjusted (both increases and decreases).  Find this form in your Admissions Binder or on our website.   Failure to submit by the deadline will put a hold on all financial aid funds.

#4 – Financial aid (loans and scholarship) disburse three days prior to the start of the term - with no exception.  That’s in keeping with federal regulations and there is no getting around that.  What that means is there is no “early” disbursal of aid for any financial reasons or hardships.  So you will have to come prepared to pay for critical things you need (shelter, food, etc.) with your own funds from the time you move to New Haven through orientation.

#3 – Refunds on Financial Aid need to be requested in order to disburse.   Refunds are the technical term for financial aid funds you have accepted for the sake of your own living expenses. Refunds are generated when all the Yale direct charges are paid and there are still excess funds on your account. However, in order to gain access to these funds you must “request a refund” on the SIS system. And you need to do this each semester or anytime you want a refund (i.e. those funds are not going to come to you automatically just because they are yours).  And the earliest you are going to receive a refund is the first day of term. But again because there is no set or guaranteed date for the refund (albeit per federal regulations schools have 18 days from start of the term to issue and Yale does an extraordinary job of getting refunds to students in a timely manner)  make the necessary allowances in your cash flow to survive.

#2 – There are things you can do to expedite the refund.  First, sign up for automatic deposit so that the refund is deposited directly into your own bank account and you are not waiting for a paper check to be issued.  Instructions on this process can be found on the Student Financial Services website .   Second, request the refund a couple of days before the first day of term so that as soon as the excess funds are generated the refund process will already be in process. 

#1 – Reach out to the Financial Aid Office for questions and help.  As as you have just read a lot of fairly complex things need to happen on a certain timeframe, in a certain order over the next few months to ensure that you actually have funds in hand come the first days of classes.   Don’t let a missed step leave you without the money you need.  (Try as some have you can’t survive by living off the free candy that the Financial Aid Office always has available in our candy dish).  So call us, email us or come visit us anytime if something in the process needs to be clarified.

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