Using unused portions of the FAFSA to cover living expenses

<p>I'll be going to a public school next semester (w/o room and board), so I pay nothing for tuition because (I think) that my Pell Grant is substantial enough to cover it by itself.</p>

<p>The problem, then, is that I don't have money to cover living expenses (mostly food related).
However, if I remember anything about filling out the FAFSA, it's that there are other resources like the Perkins and Stafford loans. I was wondering whether I can take out Perkins's and Stafford to cover non-tuition related matters if they're unused.</p>

<p>As I understand it, FA is primarily administered through the school (FAFSA just appropriates the funds?). Is it possible to access unused portions of FAFSA programs that I'm eligible for if all official costs (tuition) are already covered?</p>

<p>All financial aid is administered through the school. FAFSA does not appropriate any funds at all - all FAFSA is is a form you complete that produces your EFC based on the financial information you provided, and sends the EFC to the school. The school is responsible for determining what financial aid you are eligible for based on the school's COA and your EFC and awarding it to you.</p>

<p>If you want federal loans you would have to be awarded them by your school. You cannot get federal aid from any other source. Stafford loans and Perkins loans are awarded by the school. You would have to talk to the school about it. You cannot get aid that exceeds the school's COA but schools often include expenses other than tuition in their COA (room and board, food, travel expenses etc). Talk to your school.</p>

<p>Did you get an FA package? What did it say that the COA is for commuters? </p>

<p>Even if you live at home, your COA should be higher than just the cost of tuition.</p>

<p>Commuters still have book and travel expenses, as well as some food expenses.</p>

<p>So, yes, your COA will likely be high enough that you could take a Stafford loan. Did you indicate that you wanted one when you did your FAFSA?</p>

<p>However, it's not really a good idea to just borrow money for food if you have cheaper alternatives for eating. Paying back loans that were just used for food is painful.</p>

<p>If it's mostly food expenses that you need, working once a week for 8 hours would be enough to feed yourself. Or twice a week to cover miscellaneous stuff also.</p>

<p>Pretend every meal you pay is double that amount when you pay it back. Do you think it's worth it? If so, feel free to take out the loan. I'm not trying to discourage you at all, I'm just giving you things to think about that you might not have thought of before making the decision.</p>

<p>
[quote]
cannot get aid that exceeds the school's COA but schools often include expenses other than tuition in their COA

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</p>

<p>so if food isn't included in the COA, then that's a dead end?</p>

<p>
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Paying back loans that were just used for food is painful.

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Well if the alternative is to not have any food, then...</p>

<p>
[quote]
working once a week for 8 hours would be enough to feed yourself.

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I don't have a problem with that, it's the getting a job part that i'll have trouble with</p>

<p>What is the school's COA breakdown for those who commute?</p>

<p>If you don't know, ask.</p>

<p>It doesn't matter if food is specifically listed or not. As long as the COA is for a greater amount than the aid that you're getting, you can get the difference in a loan and use it for food or other school related costs.</p>

<p>So...for instance...if your school's COA for commuters is something like...</p>

<p>$5000 - Tuition/fees
$1000 - books/supplies
$ 500 - transportation
$ 800 - food</p>

<h2>$2500 - personal expenses</h2>

<p>$9800.00 COA for students living with parents</p>

<p>and your current aid adds up to less than that- say - $5500 - then you could borrow at least $4000. (I think...Hopefully, others can correct me if I'm wrong.)</p>

<p>I believe (from reading CC) that some junior colleges or community colleges that do not have dorms do not include room and board in their COA. Is this what the case is here? The only thing I can suggest is to talk to the FA office at your school and see if they can up your COA to include expenses other than tuition/fees.</p>

<p>If you really need a job after looking EVERYWHERE, the one that's always hiring and always accept everyone is Vector for Cutco Cutlery. It's not for everyone, you need to be very outgoing and know a lot of people. They've had bad rap but have changed a lot.</p>

<p>I have two college friends who works there. One of them is a top power seller(and very outgoing) and that's where you make a lot of money. On average, a person makes $7-8 an hour if you do the math even though it says $15 base pay or whatever it is now. Really study the pay ladder to know how it works. The very few that are good loves it, like my friend.</p>

<p>I forgot to answer your main post questions.
"Is it possible to access unused portions of FAFSA programs that I'm eligible for if all official costs (tuition) are already covered?"
Yes. You can accept anything on your financial aid awards package(that's what they're called, not FAFSA programs). So whatever amount of loans that's listed is the max you can take out, you can't take more then that since that would exceed the COA that they've calculated for you but you can take out less than that.
The loan will go straight to your school first and the school will disburse the excess amount as a check to you and you can use it for whatever you want. Since your whole tuition is paid off, the whole loan is the excess amount that goes to you.
Say you owe $1k left for tuition and your aid package said 5k for a loan but you decided to take out 4k only. It'll go to the school, they take the $1k first and will give you a check for 3k. Also it'll take 4-6 weeks to process so keep that in mind.</p>

<p>"I believe (from reading CC) that some junior colleges or community colleges that do not have dorms do not include room and board in their COA. Is this what the case is here?"
They do. Or at least mine did. I got 7k in grants and my school only cost less than 1k and I lived at home. I put on-campus by accident first year because I thought it was asking if I wanted to live on campus(even though I knew there weren't any dorm and thought maybe it's like housing or something). But the next year I put off-campus and still got the same amount.</p>

<p>What my financial aid from my private university said that COA includes room and board whether it be on or off campus, food, books & supplies and transportation.</p>

<p>I thought Antonio was commuting to a 4 year state university...not a CC.</p>

<p>
[quote]
They do. Or at least mine did. I got 7k in grants and my school only cost less than 1k and I lived at home. I put on-campus by accident first year because I thought it was asking if I wanted to live on campus(even though I knew there weren't any dorm and thought maybe it's like housing or something). But the next year I put off-campus and still got the same amount.

[/quote]
All the junior and community colleges I am personally familiar with (not many admittedly) do have dorms and do include room and board in their COA. My son went to a junior college and his COA included room and board and travel expenses and his aid included grants and loans that he could use for living expenses. However I have read questions on this board from students at junior colleges that do not include room and board in their COAs. I am guessing, based on his initial question, that this is the case for the OP. As I said in my earlier post - talk to the FA office at your school. Perhaps they can help you out.</p>

<p>
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I thought Antonio was commuting to a 4 year state university...not a CC.

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I don't know - I could not tell from his post. I would expect a 4 year state U to include room and board, travel, and personal expenses in their COA even for a commuter.</p>

<p>It is included in his COA, that's why he has loans in his awards and his grants equals his tuition. The OP said unused and didn't know whether or not that he can take them out because his tuition is all paid for.
If COA is just his tuition then they wouldn't have given him the loan.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I'll be going to a public school next semester (w/o room and board), so I pay nothing for tuition because (I think) that my Pell Grant is substantial enough to cover it by itself.</p>

<p>The problem, then, is that I don't have money to cover living expenses (mostly food related).However, if I remember anything about filling out the FAFSA, it's that there are other resources like the Perkins and Stafford loans. I was wondering whether I can take out Perkins's and Stafford to cover non-tuition related matters if they're unused.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>My understanding from the original question (quoted above) is that he does not have loans, just a pell grant that covers his tuition. The OP's original question was can he get loans.</p>

<p>"Is it possible to access unused portions of FAFSA programs that I'm eligible for if all official costs (tuition) are already covered?"
I assume it's in his awards package since he's saying he's eligible for it. And I just assume he's mistakingly calling it FAFSA programs. There's not much to go on so I'm just making my guesses. We'll have to wait for his reply to know what he means and what he's actually asking.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I thought Antonio was commuting to a 4 year state university...not a CC.

[/quote]

heh, you remember me?

[quote]
the one that's always hiring and always accept everyone is Vector for Cutco Cutlery.

[/quote]
I showed up for their interview a few months agol... I can see why they have a bad rap.

[quote]
What is the school's COA breakdown for those who commute?

[/quote]

It looks something like this:
Books and supplies: 1100
Transportation: 900
Housing: 1800 (I think this is per semester assuming that I split the bill with a roommate for a "standard" rental apartment. sounds more like 1970s data to me)
Food: 1900
Personal Expenses: 1700
Tuition: 4400</p>

<p>My school did not send me a Finanicial aid award sheet with the acceptance letter. Months later at orientation, I received a sheet that contained the classes I had just registered for, their costs, a cumulative total of all the classes' costs, and applicable financial aid. I don't have the exact number in front of me but the classes' cumulative cost was about $2500, with applicable FA at an identical number (but no more) to bring the out-of-pocket cost to 0.</p>

<p>
[quote]
My understanding from the original question (quoted above) is that he does not have loans, just a pell grant that covers his tuition.

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I do not know whether I have loans or not but assuming that schools apply available federal grants before loans, the $2500 total for classes should be covered by my more-than-ample Pell Grant. </p>

<p>Again, I never received a letter specifying my FA awards--probably because the school doesn't have a blanket full time cost but rather variable costs depending on the classes one registers for.</p>

<p>My suggestion would be that you contact the FA department ASAP to find out what your FA situation/offer is. FA can be offered for all the items in the COA - tuition, books, room, food, travel, personal expenses. It is unusual that your school has not given you an actual award. Some aid (such as loans and even some grants) has to be officially accepted by you and the loans also require some additional action by you. Some may even have acceptance deadlines ( for instance aid that there is limited funding for such as Perkins loans and Work Study). Contact your FA office as soon as possible and get this sorted out.</p>

<p>My daughters school also has varying actual costs depending on what classes you register for (how many hours, what department etc) but the COA at her school is a set figure that they base FA on. Basically it is a an estimated or average number. For instance the tuition part of the COA at her school is based on 14 credit hours a semester - she usually takes more than that but that is what her aid is based on. So I would still expect you to have received an official award.</p>

<p>Is there a chance that this is all online somewhere? My daughter's school does not send a letter with the FA offer - it is just posted to her student account and she goes to that to accept or decline the separate parts of the award. (My son's school did do everything by mail but many schools do not).</p>

<p>Contact your school.</p>

<p>It looks something like this:
Books and supplies: 1100
Transportation: 900
Housing: 1800 (I think this is per semester assuming that I split the bill with a roommate for a "standard" rental apartment. sounds more like 1970s data to me)
Food: 1900
Personal Expenses: 1700
Tuition: 4400</p>

<p>Is that the COA for those who commute from home?</p>

<p>If so, then the COA is higher than your aid, therefore you can get a Stafford loan.</p>

<p>"My daughter's school does not send a letter with the FA offer - it is just posted to her student account and she goes to that to accept or decline the separate parts of the award."
Same for one of my school that I got accepted to.</p>

<p>I think you forgot to check your financial aid award package online if you don't even know if it includes the loan or not. The pell grant is included part of it, so when you accepted it in paper or online, it would have everything you're eligible for in it.</p>

<p>I'm confused by your situation and can't quite put my finger on what the problem is and all I'm doing is guessing. Tell us how it went after you talk to them. All my wild guesses makes me curious.</p>