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6 Smart Steps to Scholarship Success

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.