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FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions

6 Smart Steps to Scholarship Success


Start researching early.

Give yourself plenty of time to find the right scholarships and to apply. Get the Kaplan College Planner, your essential college planning roadmap, to help you stay on top of all the important deadlines.


Use all resources and strategies available to you.

Investigate everything. You never know when an unlikely funding source may decide to grant you a scholarship. Check your college, your high school guidance office, your religious institution, and your parents' workplace. If you have a passion, there are scholarships aimed at what you love.


Follow all steps and instructions.

You would be surprised at how many people ignore this simple advice. It pays to follow the rules.


Be confident and self-assured.

Whether you are filling out your application, writing your essay, or going on interviews, it's important to have a good self-image, a high level of confidence in your abilities, and pride in your past achievements.


Remember to thank those who have helped you.

A handwritten note goes a long way and is often remembered. It will also reinforce they made the right choice and lay the groundwork for possible renewals.


Don't pay anyone to do this work for you.

Believe it or not, there are many scholarship scams out there. Fraudulent scholarship companies and other information you should be aware of are available at

Understanding Your Financial Aid Rights

It's important to remember that when it comes to student financial aid, you do have some rights. Know these rights and ensure that they are being honored by colleges, federal and state institutions, and financial institutions.

In the financial aid process, you have the right to...

  • Privacy: All record and data submitted with financial aid applications are treated as confidential information
  • Accept or decline any offer of financial aid.
  • Be notified before cancellation of aid, as well as the reason for cancellation.

On applying for financial aid, you have the right to know...

  • the cost of attendance
  • the refund policy for withdraws
  • what financial assistance is available from federal, state, and institutional resources
  • the procedures and deadlines for financial aid submissions
  • how financial aid recipients are selected
  • how your eligibility is determined

Regarding any awards your receive, you have the right to know...

  • how and when funds will be disbursed
  • full details of each type of award you receive
  • the interest rate
  • the total amount you must pay
  • when your repayment begins
  • the cancellation and deferment provisions of your loan
  • the length of your repayment period

Regarding any Federal Work-Study job, you have the right to know...

  • a job description
  • the hours
  • the pay rate
  • how and when you'll be paid

On meeting the obligations of your award, you have the right to know...

  • the criteria used to determine satisfactory performance
  • how to appeal any decision

The financial aid process can seem opaque at best. Knowing your rights going into it will help ensure that you get all the help to which you're entitled.