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I would be starting college in the fall at Boston University Center of Digital Imaging Arts the total for my 2 years would be $25,800, I got a $2,000 scholarship but of course it's not enough, they have alternative loan options like Sallie Mae, PNC Bank and Wells Fargo but I dont know what to do because I know nothing about loans nor my family has ever gotten a student loan. Should I get a loan? What are the pro's & con's? Like all schools, the counselor barely explain these loan options Please help? And no the school does not do FAFSA. Should I just go to community college?
1.) Go to the FAFSA website: You will first have to apply for a PIN. That will take a day or two to process. Once you receive your PIN in your e-mail, go back to the website and complete your application. Beware of imitation websites that promise to help you fill out your application in exchange for a fee. FAFSA applications are FREE, and you cannot get more aid just because you are using a pay site to submit your documentation. In order for you to fill out your application, you will need the following documentation in hand: a. Your 2010 tax return. (You will file with your parents’ if you are under 24) b. The codes of the schools you want to attend. (If you don’t know these yet, don’t worry, you can always send your SAR report to other schools later) NOTE: After you file your FAFSA application, you will receive a determination via e-mail (This usually takes 1 week). This determination will list your estimated family contribution (EFC). That is the amount that you and your family are expected to contribute to your education every year. If it is zero, or near zero, then you will qualify for the maximum of Stafford loans. You will likely also receive a Pell Grant, and you may become eligible for other grants like the First Generation Grant, Rosewood Grant, etc. 2.) Fill out as many scholarship applications as you can. You can find lists of available scholarships on websites like Fastweb.com, Scholarships.com, FinAid,org, etc. Be careful, because these may sometimes simply be phishing scams to allow companies to target you for direct marketing by for profit colleges. It is unlikely that you receive scholarships via these websites, but it is worth a look, just in case you find a scholarship that is particularly well suited to your needs. 3.) Apply for internships, work studies, fellowships, and other financial aid programs that require you to work for your aid. These will help you fund your education, but more importantly, will help you get to know potential employers. If you build a strong relationship with these people now, then you are more likely to get a job once you graduate. You will also have work experience on your transcript, and can expect glowing letters of recommendation from your supervisors. Apply for these through your school’s financial aid or employment office. 4.) If you or your family receive food stamps, WIC checks, housing assistance or other forms of public aid, then you qualify for the WIA program. This program helps you find the funds necessary to pay for your first two years of college, or for an AA / North Dakota degree or certificate in a field of study. It is designed to help re-educate people and give them an opportunity to enter a new career field. These programs are competitive and issued on a first come first served basis. You need to contact your food stamp office immediately to find out about this program. Don’t waste time applying. The worse that can happen is that they run out of funds. 5.) Apply for private loans. Private loans are your last options when you cannot find enough subsidized and free aid to pay for everything. For the most part, private loans like the Sally Mae loans have somewhat higher interest rates. You are often also required to make small monthly payments on these loans. Your parents will be expected to co-sign on these loans. You will be expected to repay these loans on a monthly basis once you graduate. The repayment agreement will depend on the type of loan you have taken out. They may have a 15 year repayment schedule, or a 30 year schedule, or some abnormal amount. It all depends on your lender. 6.) If you need to decide if all of this debt is worth it, just try to figure out how likely you are to find a job in your field, and how likely it will be that you can afford to repay your loans on the salary give to you. Hope this helps.