#AskFAFSA Office Hours: Back-To-School Edition

Congratulations! You survived the campus visits, the standardized tests and the overwhelming application process, and now you are preparing for your first day of college. Maybe you’re taking this time to pick out your new bedding or purchase a new laptop, or maybe you’re spending your last days of summer cutting out enough coupons to fund the instant noodle diet you’ll be living on over the next few months. But, how are you preparing yourself financially?

 I am a student entering my senior year of college at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. I have had a job since I was fourteen years old, but that did not make me an expert on personal finance when my parents dropped me off at my freshman dorm three years ago. I received financial aid from the university after filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) earlier that year but I was still unaware of how to manage my expenses and my tuition payments in the most strategic way possible.

 I had lots of questions: Do I need to fill out the FAFSA every year? How do I find a work-study job? Should the money in these paychecks go toward my living expenses or toward my student loans that are accumulating? Is there a GPA requirement to maintain my aid? Should I visit the university’s financial aid counselor?

Now that I am going into my final year, although a little wiser, I still have a number of questions about how to strategically manage my college expenses. When do I start paying back my loans? Can I apply for financial aid to use for graduate school? Should I consider opening a credit card account to start building credit?

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a lot of questions about how to stay financially responsible as you head back to school. Join me and the team here at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid on August 23rd as we answer your questions at our #AskFAFSA Office Hours on Twitter.

Here’s how it works:

    • Have questions about managing your expenses and financial aid throughout college? You can start submitting your questions on Twitter and Facebook today. Be sure to include the #AskFAFSA hashtag in your tweets. We will be monitoring for questions on Facebook and Twitter from now through next Thursday.
    • On Thursday, August 23, at 6pm ET, follow @FAFSA or the #AskFAFSA hashtag on Twitter to join the conversation. We‘ll be answering your questions live. Don’t use Twitter? You can also follow along using the Twitter app on our Facebook page.
    • Can’t make the live session? A summary of #AskFAFSA Office Hours, including the full Q&A, will be posted on Storify and the ED.gov blog following the event.

It is important to know the appropriate steps to take in order to stay financially responsible throughout college. We look forward to receiving your questions and chatting with you next week!

Giovanna Saffos is a Digital Engagement Intern at Federal Student Aid

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