Financial Aid Disbursement

<p>Hi all. Just found this forum and thought I would post a statement/question concerning financial aid policies. I am currently unemployed with very little income and thought I could go back to school online, which is a good idea, and better myself. I havent been to school in over 20 years, so thought I could focus full time on school for the first couple of semesters, just to get re-adjusted to school. I did some research (but obviously not enough) and found out about financial aid provided by the government. Dozens of websites "advertise" that student loans can be used for tuition, books, computers, room and board, and pretty much any education related expenses. I thought great and filled out all the necessary paperwork and received my award letter. 5500.00 in pell grants, 3500.00 direct subsidized, and 6000.00 in direct unsubsidized loans. Ok, available for school is 15050.00. My comprehensive tuition plan is 7190 for 36 credits per year, so that leaves me 7860.00 in money I can use for education related expenses. Sounds pretty good right ? Now the school Thomas Edison State College...only disburses financial aid money once every quarter and the tuition must be paid in full before any excess money is paid to me. So, the first semester 3762.50 is applied to my tuition. The second semester another 3762.50 is applied to my tuition again, leaving a balance of 335.00, less any "fees" that I havent been made aware of yet. So bottom line is, I will receive the money I can apply to my education related expenses 7 1/2 months later ! So any money for books, a computer (which I already have but still !), internet access, etc will have to paid by me upfront. The school's take on this situation is...we are only paid once every 3 months by the government so thats why we only disburse the financial aid money after we receive it. Okay, fair enough..cant really expect the college to pay out money before they get it, so no problem with that. My question after this long, drawn out "paragraph" is...why is it a requirement that the tuition be paid in full before any money be paid out to me ? Couldnt it be just as easy to divide the tuition by 4, just as my aid is ? I am sure it could be some kind of incentive for me to stay in school since my tuition is already paid for after the second semester..but if you cant afford the books and living expenses...doesnt that defeat the whole purpose of trying to provide yourself with an education ?</p>

<p>Are you sure you have to wait 7 months for any of it? Usually money is paid out by semester (or quarter in a quarter system). For instance my daughter's school is on a semester system so half her aid is paid out in the first semester. Once any direct costs, such as tuition and fees for that semester, are covered the excess aid for that semester is paid to her. She usually gets it about the 3rd week of school. Then in the 2nd semester the remaining half of her aid is paid out and the process repeats itself. (timing will vary from school to school - my son's school did not do refunds until about the 6th week of school).</p>

<p>In my post I said that 335.00 was left over after the second semester, so that amount would be available to me, less any "fees". Not sure if the 7190.00 is the total tuition cost per year but I do know there are some fees associated with the loan. So yes, before any "real" amount will be made available to me, its going to be the 3rd semester. It just strikes me as kinda odd that my financial aid is sent to the school in 4 installments by the government? thanks for your reply</p>

<p>For most schools the financial aid is released by semester or quarter. So for a semester school it would be release in 2 parts. I am not very familiar with the quarter system so I am not sure how that works. I had a quick look at the website of the school you are enrolled in to see if I could understand how they work but I am non the wiser. it seems quite different.</p>

<p>It almost borders on "deceptive" to me, but again being my first year I dont "know no better" (lol). Here is cut and paste of the award letter dispursement schedule.
......... Disp 1 ..... Disp 2
FPELL Pell Grant 1388.00 1388.00 $5550.00
DSUB Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan 875.00 875.00 $3500.00
DUNS Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan 1500.00 1500.00 $6000.00</p>

<p>There is also a Disp 3 and 4. Again, it just seems counter-productive to entice students to enroll in college with the lure of "government funded loans" that cover all education related expenses and then the college say "thanks and we will send you the loan money to cover your books and electric bill in 7 months".</p>

<p>Honestly it seems unusual to me. Do you have any other options as far as school are concerned.</p>

<p>Not at this point. My semester begins Aug 1st so I am pretty much "locked" into this school and situation. I could withdraw and research another school but then I would basically be starting over in a sense. No private loans are available without a verified income or a co-signer. So instead of providing myself with an excellent opportunity to get an education, I am going to have to work full time and hope that leaves me with enough time to get my school work done.</p>