- Not asking for help – This is not only true in financial aid, but throughout Gonzaga. There are a ton of resources available to students and we are happy to point students in the right direction, but we can’t help out if we don’t know you need it.
- Sharing your PIN number – We know not to share our bank account PIN, but when it comes to financial aid students and families don’t apply the same logic. This is a problem on a few fronts: your PIN is your legally binding signature, so you will be held responsible for anything done with your PIN. Also, the PIN is used at all Federal Education sites, so the same PIN you sign your FAFSA with can be used to obtain Federal loans. And if those aren’t reason enough not to share your PIN, it is a felony to log into the Federal Education Sites using someone else’s PIN, so please don’t share it.
- Letting a Parent/Family member complete your loan paperwork – Not only is it a felony for someone else to use your PIN (which is required to complete the loan paperwork) it is also important for students to know their rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower. I hear from families that they intend to pay the student loan; however it is still important for the student to complete the paperwork because life happens and if there is a change in the family situation, the student needs to be aware of the terms of their loans.
- Not keeping track of what you’re spending – As students leave the household, they not only have to be aware of their spending, but they also find that they are getting offers for credit cards. Talk to your students about your expectations of them; help them establish a budget so they know where their money is going. This is helpful as not only does it allow them to create a financially sound future, but it helps minimize debt.
- Ignoring debt– Students accept their financial aid at the beginning of each year. They need to be aware of how much they are borrowing. The financial aid office has a student’s cumulative education debt listed in ZagWeb; however, students often ignore this until they get ready to graduate. Encourage your student to ask for monthly interest statements from their student loan providers (a box can be checked on the Master Promissory Note) – this serves as a monthly reminder of the debt the student has and encourages them to pay any interest that is accruing during school.
- Waiting to apply for scholarships – Scholarship applications are available year round, but the majority have deadlines in November – April. Make searching for scholarships a family event as others can help keep an eye on applications and announcements while the student is working on Mid-terms or Finals.
- Not checking email – Email seems archaic to many students; however, it is the main form of communication for the university. All important information will be sent to the student’s ZagMail account, so they need to check it regularly. Since the University is required to communicate with the student directly and not the parents, talk about any expectations you have of your student in sharing that information with you.
The financial aid office is open Monday – Friday throughout the year and is available to assist student and families in this process. Please contact us if you have any questions or need any assistance.
The Financial Aid Office will be open Saturday August, 30th from 10 am – 2 pm. Please stop in and say hello, or get assistance in finalizing your financial aid awards.