Financial Aid FAQ
Financial Aid can be more than a little confusing — which is why we decided to round up students’ top questions on the topic and answer them here! We’ll walk you through FAFSA completion, verification, and more — all while breaking down the concepts and terms you need to know.
Q: What is FAFSA?
A: The FAFSA (or Free Application for Federal Student Aid) determines your eligibility for grants, loans, and other forms of funding. In other words, FAFSA can give certain students access to extra financial help outside of their company’s education benefit.
Q: Why should I fill out FAFSA?
A: Depending on your employer’s financial aid policy, you may be required to fill out FAFSA in order to access your education benefit. As mentioned above, it’s free to complete and shouldn’t take more than an hour.
Note: Completing the FAFSA is a required part of the application process for all Guild network schools. You can start the process at www.fafsa.gov. This is the only official website for the FAFSA – don’t trust any website that asks you to pay to complete the application, etc.
Q: Does everyone receive financial aid?
A: Nope, while everyone who attends Guild’s network of schools does need to fill out the FAFSA, not everyone will receive financial aid. It’s also worth noting that different people will get different awards.
Q: Do I have to accept financial aid?
A: While your employer may require you to accept grant aid, you will never be required to accept loans. You can check your employer’s financial aid policy for more details or talk to your Guild coach.
Q: What does it mean if my FAFSA is selected for verification?
A: Verification is a process used to ensure the information on your FAFSA form is correct. Some universities verify all students’ FAFSA forms, while others select students at random — so if you see a note on your Student Aid Report or are contacted by the school, don’t sweat it!
Q: How do I complete the verification process if I’m selected?
A: You should contact your school with specific questions about verification. In general, to verify a FAFSA form, a student needs to provide the documentation that the school asks for. This can include anything from tax return transcripts to proof of income — just make sure to get it to your school ASAP. If you don’t complete verification, you won’t be able to receive financial aid.
Q: What are the differences between grants, subsidized loans, and unsubsidized loans?
A: This question is such a big topic that we decided to write a separate post about it — here’s the recap of the types of aid available to undergraduate students:
Grants, such as the PELL grant, are available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree. In most cases, you do not have to pay back the money you receive from grants.
Direct subsidized loans:
These loans are available to undergraduate students who are using financial aid to help cover the cost of school. The U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest on your loan if you’re a full or part-time student, six months after you leave school, and during a period of deferment. Unlike with a grant, you are required to pay this money back with interest if you choose to take it.
Direct unsubsidized loans:
Talk to your school’s financial aid office for more information on this type of loan. Typically, these loans are available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. If you take out a direct unsubsidized loan, you’ll start gathering interest right away and will continue to accrue interest during all periods of the loan. You are required to pay the loan and interest back.
Q: Why should I accept Pell Grants or scholarships?
A: Accepting grants may be in your best interest financially. Plus, it leaves more money in your employer’s budget to help other students. You can learn more in this blog post!
Q: What if I don’t want to accept a grant or loan?
A: Depending on your school, in addition to accepting the financial aid that you do want, you may need to deny any financial aid that you don’t want. You should check with your school’s financial aid office for the exact steps you should follow.
Q: How do I know how much grant and loan money I qualify for?
A: Shortly after completing the FAFSA, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report and a financial aid award package from your university. This report includes a summary of the information you submitted, as well as your eligibility for specific grants and loans. You can expect this to arrive anywhere from three days to three weeks after completing the FAFSA.
Q: Will I have to pay taxes on my employer’s tuition coverage?
A: If your employer is covering more than $5,250 a year, or you live in a state where your education benefit is taxed, you may have to pay taxes on that amount. We’d suggest talking to your payroll department or tax advisor for more information.
Guild Education, Inc. makes no representations or warranties about your eligibility for financial aid. Universities are solely responsible for any and all financial aid decisions. Employers are solely responsible for decisions regarding tuition benefits.