Lost your job? Let us know
Families should tell WWU if they’ve lost jobs or income they had been counting on to help their students pay for college.
Overall, the total number of students receiving financial aid has climbed 10 percent this year, says Clara Capron, director of financial aid. Financial Aid is also seeing an increase in the number of families requesting an adjustment to their contribution to education expenses.
"Many students benefit from additional grant assistance throughout the year as funding becomes available."
It’s important to file a Contribution Adjustment Request form as soon as possible, because some aid types, such as federal Pell Grants and federal student loans, do not run out.
“There’s a always a chance that students will end up with a better aid package after adjustments have been made to the expected family contribution,” Capron says. “In addition, financial aid becomes available to re-award as a result of student attrition. Many students benefit from additional grant assistance throughout the year as funding becomes available.”
Parents with recent federal Parent PLUS loans may also have the option to defer their loan payments. Parents who are in a financial bind, and whose PLUS loans were issued after July 1, 2008, may defer payments until 6 months after their student graduates or leaves school.
Parents can opt to pay the interest only, or defer both interest and principal, until the student graduates. But parents who choose to delay payment until after graduation will continue to accrue interest on these loans. And that interest will capitalize, or become part of the loan’s principal, six months after the student graduates, drops below half time status or leaves school for a period longer than 6 months.
“Then you are in essence paying interest on interest because the loan becomes that much bigger,” says June Fraser Thistle, WWU’s Student Accounts supervisor.
On the other hand, there are never pre-payment penalties on Parent PLUS loans, so families who can afford to pay them in full early will save on future interest payments.
And as tax season approaches, Capron reminds families to see if they qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a maximum tax credit of $2,500 for eligible families.