Know before you loan: A financial aid Q&A with Jay Shock

By Denita Turner

Flapjack Chronicle staff

Incoming freshmen in college tend to have many questions that they are hesitant to ask.

A huge issue that students have problems with is financial aid. Many of them come to college uneducated about what they need to know about their financial aid situations, which causes problems for them in the long run. For this reason Jay Shock from the financial aid office at Humboldt State University gave incoming students insight on this issue.

What determines the money you get back from Financial Aid?

Whatever you owe the university, after you pay for everything needed, anything left over is yours.

What determines if you get loans or not?

All students are eligible for (unsubsidized) loans if not currently in default. Student loans are guaranteed for new students. Expected family contribution has to be lower than cost of attendance to get subsidized loans.

Is there any case where you don’t have to pay loans back?

Sometimes certain types of loans (Perkins)/careers might make it possible where you don’t have to pay back all of loans but instead they let you work it off in a certain type of “community service” way.

What percentage of students graduate with debt? Why?

Approximately 60 percent. This reason is because cost of attendance increases which leads to more loans being needed; more and more students rely on loans, which results to more debt.

Is it possible to receive more money for second semester?

Yes, sometimes students receive scholarships late in the year. They also sometimes receive additional money from school.

Is financial aid harder to obtain now than it used to be?

I’ve been here 15 years. Requirements have been pretty much the same but because cost of attendance goes up not every can be covered fully like they used to be. The government just doesn’t give up enough money.

What qualifies a person for financial aid?

Depends on funds; some aid is strictly need based, some are academic scholarships, need based and academics together, veterans benefits, sports scholarships, loans, fee waivers, etc.

What’s your advice on how to best stay away from debt if you absolutely have to take out loans?

I would say borrow only what you need, try to keep your expenses as low as possible and be very aware of your loan debt as it accumulates (i.e. always know how much you have borrowed). Also, I would encourage you to use the (online) loan calculators now available to help you assess what your repayments might look like, over time.

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