- Age: 18
- Schooling: Will soon be a freshman at a 4-year private college
- Major: Engineering
- Loan debt: $3,500 federal
Chris borrowed more money than he needs, and he feels like he hit the jackpot
Read Chris's story
Chris's family never struggled financially, yet Chris knew he would need help if he wanted to go to his first-choice school. The day he found out he was eligible for $3,500 in federal loans, he signed on the dotted line and looked forward to a future he always dreamed about.
What Chris didn't expect was that he would also get $600 in scholarship money from his high school in recognition of his high GPA and academic excellence. That's right—at his graduation ceremony, he was called to the podium three different times for three different awards. Three! His mom and dad were so proud.
And Chris now has $600 more for college than he thought he would. He's thinking he can really live large his freshman year he's never had so much money!
Chris CAN deal with it
- Chris needs to report his scholarship money to the financial aid office. Chris's financial picture has changed since he filled out his FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and he needs to make his school aware of this. His recent monetary awards could change his financial aid package, and it's important that the school have accurate information before it disburses his loan money.
- Chris should read the fine print. Although Chris may think he has a little extra money in his pocket, scholarships usually have rules that dictate how the recipient can use them. Most scholarships are intended to be used toward tuition, books, or other school-related expenses. Before Chris accepts any scholarship money, he needs to find out his end of the deal.
- Chris should know the consequences if he takes no action. If Chris doesn't tell his school about his scholarships before the school disburses his loan funds, he will receive federal loan money that he does not need for his education expenses.
Providing false or incorrect information in the federal student aid process (or in Chris's case, omitting information) has consequences. Chris will need to repay any excess loan money he received to be eligible for federal student aid in his sophomore, junior, or senior year in school.