It Depends – A Typical Financial Aid Answer
Students, parents, and guardians regularly ask questions about the financial aid process. It begins with completing the FAFSA and continues for the entire time a student is enrolled in college and beyond. After graduation students are checking on upcoming student loan payments and potentially asking about graduate or professional school funding. Below are a list of typical financial aid questions and how those advising students can effectively answer them.
Typical Financial Aid Questions
Checking on Application Status
Question – What am I required to turn in for my financial aid application to be complete?
Answer – Outline what is required to be have a complete financial aid file, and emphasis this will allow their application to be reviewed.
Question – OK, when I turn all of this in, I’m done, right?
Answer – Remind the student the file has to be reviewed and outline the appropriate timeline within the financial aid office or scholarship program provides students with an answer of we need more information, yes you have been offered an award or you are not qualified for the funding involved.
Question – Emailing or calling to see if you have everything that is needed. Do you have everything?
Answer – Check the student’s file status, provide an update on where they are in the application process and what will take place next.
Question – Am I now done?
Answer – Depending upon the student’s file situation, provide a specific and detailed answer about where they stand, and any next steps involved.
Question – I heard that refund checks are going out next week. Is this true?
Answer – Review the student’s account to see if their account qualifies for a refund and then provide the correct answer.
Question – My friend received a refund check so calling to check on when mine will be disbursed?
Answer – Let the student know you will review their account; each student’s financial aid is different and then give the update for their situation.
Question – So, I am getting a direct deposit by this Friday?
Answer – Outline the established timeline for funds to be released to student bank accounts, the number of days the banks have to process the funds and for the student to check with their bank for more details.
Question – OK, it sounds like I will be getting the money this weekend, right?
Answer – Update the students about the entire disbursement process, the school part and then how their bank makes the decision involving when to make funds available.
As you can see none of the answers are yes or no because the real answer is it depends. Communicating with students in this manner cuts down on miscommunication and people having a sense of everything being complete when things are still being processed.