4 Ways to Manage Your Federal Student Aid (Grants, Loans, and Work-Study)
This blog article covers four free resources to help you track your financial aid (loans, grants, and more) during college or career school. Stay in the know with help from the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment (ASLA), College Scorecard, Dashboard, and your school’s financial aid office.
Use your Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment to better understand your borrowing.
While filling out the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment is not required, we recommend that you fill out one each year. When you complete it, you acknowledge that you will repay your loans. But your acknowledgment can also help you understand how student loans will affect your financial future.
For example, it provides info about the borrowing process and can help you understand your responsibilities as a borrower. The Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment also shows you how much you owe and the terms for repayment of your loans. You’ll see your borrowing limit, too, so you can see how much more loan funding you can access.
Put your borrowing in context using College Scorecard.
College Scorecard can show you the financial outcomes for students at your school. When you plug in your school, you can find out how much debt alumni typically had when they graduated and how much their average monthly payment is. You’ll also find info on typical post-college earnings, loan repayment rates, and much more.
This context can help you see how your borrowing compares to others at your school. And the info about alumni can help you think about your own financial future and how you expect to pay off your loans.
Track your student aid through your Dashboard.
When you log in to StudentAid.gov, you’ll be taken to your Dashboard. Your Dashboard tracks info about your federal student aid, including how much you’ve borrowed and what kinds of aid you’ve received.
If you select “View Details” under the “My Aid” section, you’ll go to your Aid Summary. Your Aid Summary allows you to dive even deeper into your federal student aid history. Here you can find a breakdown of your loans and grants, with details such as interest rates, the date the funding was disbursed (paid out) to you, and more. You can also find info on the limits of your loan and grant funding. Watch this video intro to Aid Summary for a guided tour of the tool.
This Dashboard belongs to you, and you can use it after graduation to track your repayment progress for as long as you need it.
Get one-on-one help from your financial aid office.
Your school’s financial aid office should be your go-to contact to discuss your financial aid journey. They know about all elements of your financial aid package, and they can help you find new opportunities for funding. For example, your school’s financial aid office can help you find Federal Work-Study openings or new scholarships.
Plus, your school’s financial aid office may be able to adjust your financial aid and increase your award if your need has changed. If your situation changes significantly (for example, if a family member loses a job), your finances may not match what was on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. If this happens, contact your financial aid office to ask whether they can adjust your aid. They will review your new circumstances and determine how your aid might need to change.
Note: Adjustments are not required, but many schools are willing to consider special circumstances. Your school’s decision on your aid adjustment is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.
Don’t hesitate to go to your financial aid office with questions. They’ll give you answers and provide resources you can use throughout your academic career.
Congratulations on this new chapter in your life! With these tools, you can know where you stand financially every step of the way. Your future awaits!