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In order to use federal Stafford loans to pay for part of your college education you must first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Each school has a specific FAFSA code, so be sure to include the code of your desired school on the form. This will ensure that the results are sent to the financial aid office of the correct school.
Within 30 days of filing your FAFSA you should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) in the mail. Roughly two weeks after that you should receive an award letter from the school outlining your financial aid options. Select the awards that you wish to accept and then return the award letter to your school.
Now that you have done this, you can go online and fill out the application for the Stafford loan. Most schools will provide you with a list of recommended lenders, but the choice of lender is yours. In addition, your school will have a preferred process for certifying your loan eligibility. If these instructions are not in your award letter, you should consult you school's financial aid office to make sure you follow the fastest and most efficient process.
Make sure you keep a copy of all of your financial documents and follow up with your school's financial aid office to make sure all of your college financing information has been processed properly.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|