What to Expect When You Receive Your Financial Aid Offers and Guidance on Paying the College Bill

This webinar provides valuable guidance for high school seniors on understanding financial aid offers (which should start arriving in April) and different methods to pay for college costs. Topics include an overview of different types of financial aid, an explanation of how to calculate the balance due at each college, ways to pay the college bill, and how to make the college decision.

Download the webinar slides to follow along.


Please note that this transcript was auto-generated. We apologize for any minor errors in spelling or grammar.

[00:00:00] Hello, my name is Stephanie Wells from MIFA, and I'm here to talk to you today about understanding your financial aid offers, what to expect when you receive your financial aid offers, and guidance on paying the college bill. So let's get started. A little bit about MIFA, if you're not familiar with who MIFA is, we're a quasi state authority here in Massachusetts.

We've been around since 1982, over 40 years, and have been helping families plan, save, and pay for college. Through savings plans, low cost loan programs, and lots of guidance and education for families, school counselors, and college administrators. So congratulations to seniors, high school seniors, and your parents for getting to this point, getting through the admissions process.

So you're almost in the home stretch here. So let's talk a little bit about understanding your financial aid offers. Talk about ways families pay the college bill. free [00:01:00] resources that are available as well as the timeline and what you can expect what's next.

So it's important to understand all the line items on a financial aid offer once you start receiving them. We know that this year, uh, lots of financial aid offers are being delayed because of all the FAFSA delays. So just hang tight. You will be getting those financial aid offers soon. So if you haven't already, uh, colleges are still waiting from the federal government to process, uh, the information from your FAFSAs, but hopefully everybody will be getting those soon.

So once you do get your financial aid offers, there are a few things that you want to look at. Typically on a financial aid offer, you'll see the first line items will be the grants and scholarships. That's free money, whether it's from the college or university, state or federal government, whether it's based on the student's marriage or a family's financial need.

Grants and scholarships do not have to be paid back. So in this example, you can see the college or the [00:02:00] university has given some funds here, as well as some federal grants and mass grant. Then you see work study. Work study is a federal program where students are able to work and get paid through a part time job salary on campus.

And use that money to pay for some of the unbilled expenses that might be part of the cost of attendance. Things like books, supplies, transportation, you know, bus ride home, um, pizza money, things like that. That money can come in handy when students have a part time job on campus. The nice thing about work study is that you Being that it's a federal program is the income that the student earns that year is not reported on the FAFSA the following year's income.

So it's a nice little added benefit if your family does qualify for work study. Then you will likely see some sort of federal direct student loan. Part of it may be subsidized if your family qualifies for that subsidy, and the rest will be [00:03:00] unsubsidized, or the entire loan might be unsubsidized. So that's typically what you'll see for any loan programs on a financial aid offer.

Financial aid offers should have resources from the college or university, federal and state government on there. Now, if you've gotten a few financial aid offers in the mail already or logged in and gotten them off the school portal, then you might have seen that they look different from school to school.

So there's not a standardized format. So that's why it's important to understand the line items and really do the, the work of. Finalizing and understanding that net price. So that's what we're going to do today. So let's talk about the different types of aid. So there's merit based aid that's based on the student's admissions application.

Typically it's usually based on their academic achievements or skills. Sometimes there's merit based scholarships for sports or athletics or music, artistic talents, things like that. But most merit based aid that's [00:04:00] given out is based on the student's overall admissions application. The criteria to receive a merit based scholarship could differ from school to school, and even within one college, they could have different levels of merit based aid that have different criterias for renewal.

It could be that the renewal criteria is based off minimum GPAs, or even staying within a certain program at the school. For example, if the engineering department gave the student a scholarship, Then you might want to find out, well, if the student changes majors to let's say biology, do they still get to keep that scholarship?

It's important to know the fine details so that the student understands what they need to do to keep that merit scholarship. Then the rest of the financial aid offer, and actually most aid that's given out nationwide, is based on the family's financial need. So filling out that FAFSA form, and for many of you, you also filled out a CSS profile or Another school based financial aid form all that's there to determine your [00:05:00] financial need.

So need based aid is awarded based on the family's financial eligibility and. Most families are not going to receive 100 percent of their full demonstrated need from a college, primarily because colleges just don't have the budgets to meet 100 percent of the need for every family and every student as with federal and state aid.

There's just not enough to go around to meet. Everybody's need 100%, but it doesn't mean that if you don't get 100 percent of your need, that need met that you aren't still able to maybe make make that, um, Cost affordable at a particular college, depending on how much you still need to come up with. So that's what we're going to talk about today is understanding that net price and the options to pay that bill.

So most federal state and aid from the colleges and universities is based on a financial need. So let's talk a little bit more about that federal direct student loan. It's a great way for students to help contribute towards the bill. Maybe have [00:06:00] a little bit of skin in the game where they're borrowing on their own without a co signer.

This really is the only type of loan Undergraduate who maybe hasn't isn't working full time and doesn't have established credit can borrow on their own without a co signer that has established credit. So you can see here in the blue box, there are loan limits each year and what the student can borrow.

So for example, as a freshman, they can borrow up to 2, 000. $5,500. So they can't borrow hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars on this program. Um, but it is a way for the students to borrow a little bit to help contribute towards the bill. There's no credit check on this loan, and the interest rate is fixed.

It is set annually. Usually in May, we find out what the rate will be for the upcoming academic year. Right now, the rate for the current academic year of 5. 50 percent fixed. So all the students who borrowed a loan this year will have a 5. 5 percent fixed rate for the life of that loan. And [00:07:00] then the next year they borrow, for next year the rate might be slightly different.

So part of the Federal Direct Student Loan might be subsidized depending on your family's financial need and the information that was derived from your FAFSA form. That means that no interest will accrue on that portion while the student is in school. If we look at a freshman year loan, for example, up to 3, 500 of that loan could be subsidized, meaning interest free while the student's in school.

The rest of the loan, or for some families, if they don't qualify for the subsidy, The entire loan for the student might be unsubsidized, meaning interest is going to accrue on that unsubsidized portion when the student graduates. That's when the interest that is accrued will be capitalized and added to the principal balance.

Now, students don't need to make payments on this loan or even on the interest while they're in school, though they can make voluntary payments, particularly on that interest. So that it's not um, building up [00:08:00] and they might just have the loan they borrowed when they graduate, not the interest that's accrued if they can keep up on those interest payments.

But any payments while the student is in school is voluntary. There is a 1. 057% Fee that is deducted from the loan amounts when you're finalizing your exact billed amounts and how much you owe. You just want to take that into consideration so you can get that amount right down to the penny. Federal student loan borrowers do have to fill out a promissory note online.

and go through entrance counseling online so that they understand their rights and responsibilities as a federal student loan borrower. When they graduate, they'll have to go through exit counseling so that they understand the repayment options and deferment options and forbearance options with their federal student loans.

There's lots of repayment options when the student gets out of school that will help make payment of this loan a little bit easier. The other nice thing about this loan is if a student goes on to graduate school, for example, military, Peace [00:09:00] Corps, there's lots of deferment options for situations like that.

Now when you're looking at calculating the balance due, first thing we want to do is look at the college charges. So the cost of attendance is going to be all the costs that are accumulated by the family that are applied to the bill as well as the unbilled expenses. But first, when you're looking at what you actually need to pay to the college, you want to focus in on those billed charges.

So, for example, tuition and fees are going to be billed charges, of course. And if the student's living on campus, then housing and meal plan or food will also be on that college charge or bill. Health insurance, or if your family does not have health insurance for the student, will also be charged.

Because in Massachusetts, every college student needs to have insurance. So the college charges You'll take that number and then deduct your financial aid that was on your financial aid [00:10:00] offer as well as the enrollment deposit that you paid. And that's what will be due for the year. Now typically, college is going to split up that payment in two billed charges.

So one for the fall semester and one for the spring. So usually it's 50 percent in the fall is due and then the other 50 percent in the spring. But regardless, college charges minus your financial aid and enrollment deposit are going to be what you have to pay to the college. Now, of course, there will still be unbilled expenses like books, transportation, and your financial aid is comprised based on the bigger dollar amount of the full cost of attendance.

So MIFA has a great resource here that I'm going to show you real quick called the College Cost Calculator. And this is a great tool to use to line up all of your, um, college financial aid offers to understand What the bottom line is at each school. So let's just show you a real quick example here. [00:11:00] So I'm just going to put in College A.

Now you can put it in up to five schools. You could also, if you want to save your work in a spreadsheet, you could create a spreadsheet with these line items and it would have the same effect. With this calculator, you can print out a PDF of your work. Um, but unfortunately you can't export it into a spreadsheet.

So College A, let's pretend it's a private college up here in the northeast. So I'll put in 55, 000 for tuition and fees, and if the student's living on campus, I'll just make up some numbers here, 15, 000 approximately. Then you also want to include books and supplies. Usually the college will provide that number.

Either with the financial aid offer on their website or even with the bill of what you should be budgeting or or expecting to pay out of pocket for those expenses. So, in this example, I'm just going to put in 3500 and then for health insurance, I'm going to put in [00:12:00] 0 because a student in this example is insured, but if you're not insured, if the students are not insured, Or you don't fill out the waiver for that health insurance with the college, you will be billed for this charge.

What could could be about 2, 000. So you want to make sure that you waive this charge in that should be instructions on your bill from the college in order to do that. So I'll put in zero and let's pretend that we also need to buy a laptop. So we want a bit plan. Some money for that as well. So if you scroll down, you can see our bilge, our cost of attendance is a little over 75, 000.

So everything's calculated for you in the calculator. And now I'm just going to put in some round numbers here for a Pell Grant. Maybe the state scholarship and maybe the college university gave a nice scholarship per year of [00:13:00] 25, 000 per year. So total of 100, 000 over 4 years. Now, if the student has received any outside scholarships from the, from, you know, your local organization through the guidance office, local community, civic organizations, and they already know they've received that, you can also put that in here too.

So in this example. We got 1, 000 because a student played pop corner football and they got that scholarship. So you can see in the calculator we separate out gift aid, which is the free money, that's the really good stuff, from student loans. Both are financial aid, uh, but you really want to think about loans as a separate type of financial aid.

So I'm going to put in that Federal Direct Student Loan. Of 5500 total now, sometimes a college might have a small loan program. Some colleges do put in [00:14:00] financial aid offers federal plus loans, which are loans for parents, but that is not financial aid. So you do want to take that out of a financial aid offer.

And do not consider that financial aid at the, at the end of the day, you might use that type of loan to pay for school, but you may have other ways to pay for school that are even less expensive than a federal plus zone. And we'll talk about that. And then let's say the student got work study. So they can earn up to 1500 for the year.

And if you have any savings or other resources that you want to consider as part of your budget, you could put that in here, too. So we'll pretend that the family has saved 20, 000 and they've decided. We're going to put in 5, 000 a year per year for four years. So that 75, 000 annual cost, which can be a little intimidating, once we start adding in the financial aid and any [00:15:00] resources that we might have, then we get down to a remaining cost or a net price of a little over 28, 000.

So that is what The family would need to come up with through a different resources to pay for this school. Now, the nice thing about the calculators that you can put in different financial aid offers, and you can see side by side, what is each college charging me for these different line items? How much free money grants and scholarships is each college giving me?

Are some of them packaging a You know, more expensive federal plus loan in there or giving the family or the student the full 5, 500 as a freshman loan. So you do want to look at all of those and really look at that bottom line line item.

So what, some other things to consider once you get to those line items and those net price at each school is really having an honest conversation about what your family can afford, [00:16:00] whether borrowing is even feasible. For some families, it's just not feasible. And if borrowing is part of the equation, how much are you willing to borrow?

Is it a cosign loan? How much would the student be expecting to contribute towards any family loans? Those are all good conversations to have now, rather than four years from now when the student graduates and might be expecting to pay back parent loans in addition to their federal student loans. You do also want to consider this parent plan for four years, even though it's an annual process, you apply for eight each year.

If you're borrowing, you might need to apply for a loan each year, but you do want to project out how much will this school cost after four years. So multiply whatever you might be thinking about borrowing times four. Look at that monthly payment and see if that's what you can afford after the end of four years, not just the first year.

So you do want to really try and come up with a strategy that. Limits parent family borrowing as much as possible, [00:17:00] and it's very understandable to make a decision based on costs. It's going to make the most sense for the family. Now, some families may need to appeal their financial aid offer. If things have changed since you filed your financial aid forms, you can get in touch with the financial aid office to discuss this, understand how they came up with your financial aid offer, uh, clarify any unique circumstances that might be Considered by the college.

Big things that they could consider is big reduction in income or assets or job loss, things like that. Um, you know, any extreme household expenses like unreimbursed medical expenses, things like that. They're typically not going to look at just, you know, household debt or even parents. education loans of their own, things like that.

But there are a lot of things that some colleges may look at. So you can definitely get in touch with them, particularly if there's a big reduction in income colleges want to know that. So keep in mind that [00:18:00] you filled out the form for two years prior for your income. So now we're in 2024, the income you reported for 2022 on the FAFSA might be drastically different.

So you really want to contact that the financial aid office. If the, if you have any special circumstances sooner rather than later to find out what their instructions are and what their process is and just understand what's the timing like, how quickly will they be able to review your appeal? Will they be able to do that before you need to make your decision?

All of that is very important. Understand that they may need information from you to document your appeal, such as Letter business statements, um, unemployment records, things like that. They need to, the college may need to know that. So once everything, um, is. given to the college that they're requesting to consider your appeal, then you can submit that and the financial aid office will look at the whole picture and see if there's [00:19:00] anything they can do to adjust your financial aid offer.

And then they will be in touch with their decision and any adjustments if they were able to make those to the financial aid offer. So once you understand what your financial aid is going to be at a particular college, then you want to think about methods to pay that college bill. So first and foremost, everybody wants scholarships.

That's the good stuff. That's the free money. And students hopefully are applying for scholarships, particularly within your local community, uh, through the guidance office, uh, any nonprofits that you might be working with, religious organizations that you might be a member of, uh, maybe your employer, uh, where civic groups might offer scholarships for their employees or members.

So look down every road. Uh, you should never be paying anybody to apply for financial aid or to fill out scholarship applications. All of this should be able to be done free of charge. There are [00:20:00] online search engines through MIFA pathway, for example, MIFA's college and career web portal, as well as the college boardroom fast web, where students can go in, fill out demographic information, And then get emails back of scholarships that they might be eligible to apply for.

Now, keep in mind anything, anything on a search engine like that is going to be usually national and focus with a lot more competition. Um, so you definitely want to have the students start with the local scholarships 1st. Those are going to be your best option or. Best chance of getting some scholarships.

And then if you can get them to keep going and fill up those other scholarship search engines, and that'll be worth the work as well. Follow MIFA on social, a social media. We're always putting out scholarship alerts of new scholarships that we're hearing about as well as listing them on MIFA pathway.

Then you want to take into consideration, uh, savings, any savings that your family may have, whether it's a [00:21:00] 529 college savings plan, maybe it's a prepaid plan. Uh, do you have any savings bonds that the student got when they were younger, maybe for a christening or first birthday? Dig up all those resources.

Um, if there's family members that might be willing to contribute and have said, I'll, I'll put towards a, you know, 5, 000 or I have a savings plan in place already for their grandchildren. Find out who's willing to help out. And so, so you can take that into account as part of your overall plan, but you definitely want to try and use your savings.

Uh, that's what you saved for, especially if it's a college savings plan. So you want to make a plan to utilize all of that while the students in school to help minimize borrowing. So if you have saved through one of the Massachusetts plans that are managed through MIFA, The U plan prepaid tuition plan or the MIFA U fund, which is the 529 plan that's managed by Fidelity Investments, you can get in touch with us.

If you have a U plan, give us a call. We can tell you how much [00:22:00] your certificates are worth at participating colleges in Massachusetts. or how much it would be worth if you cash out to use the money at a different school out of state. Or if you have a U Fund or some families have both, you can also contact Fidelity to make a plan to utilize those funds and have that money sent to the college.

Now after you've utilized savings and looked at that, you want to look at any cash out of pocket that you can contribute. Typically, it could be, you know, writing a check each semester or maybe utilizing a payment plan through the college, an interest free monthly payment plan that you pay over five to 12 months.

It's a budget plan. It's not a loan. There's no interest assessed. There's no credit check, but it allows you to spread out those payments versus making lump sum payments in the fall or the spring. It's a good way to budget, um, to really kind of, you know, make that part of your plan, especially if you're needing to borrow.

So, you know exactly what you need to pay each month. [00:23:00] These plans typically start in May, June, or July. So, once you know what college the student's going to, then you can set up that plan at that college or university. And the college should have that information on their website. And typically, we'll send that out with financial aid offers or the college bill.

Now, once you've exhausted any past income through savings or current income through cash on hand or payment plans. If you still have money due, then you might need to borrow. Now borrowing should always be a last resort. So you do want to think about that before signing on the dotted line. Keep in mind that above and beyond the federal direct student loan, typically Alternative loans, private loans, even the Federal Plus loan will require some sort of credit history.

So you really just want to borrow the minimum that you need. Think in terms of that four year plan. Even though it's an annual process to borrow, you want to know what [00:24:00] is that payment going to be at the end of four years if I borrowed four different loans. If the student is expected to help mom and dad pay back any MIFA loans, for example, which is a family loan, you just want to make sure that the student understands that and will be able to, based on their post graduation plans.

Are they going on to medical school? Are they going on to graduate school? school. Will they be in a career where they can help make those payments? You do want to think about those, those things ahead of time before actually borrowing. Now MIFA does have a great webinar. It's on our website now, but we'll be doing new ones in June and July on comparing loan options.

That's where we will go through with a fine tooth comb. all the different things you need to think about before borrowing. We'll compare disclosure statements, talk about the differences in interest rates, you know, see what are you most comfortable with, understand what the repayment timeline is for that loan, how soon do you have to start [00:25:00] making payments, how long do you have to make those payments.

The further you push out payments, whether it's a longer repayment term or deferring versus immediate repayment. That's going to cost you more in the long run because you're not paying principal and interest up front. And that might be what some families need to do if they do need to defer payments.

But just keep in mind, the sooner you start paying back the loan, the less you'll pay in interest over the life of that loan.

MIFA has a great calculator on our website that you can use to run some numbers and understand what's going on. What is it going to cost to borrow a 10, 000 loan or a 15, 000 loan? Whatever it might be, you can run the different scenarios here before you actually apply for a loan. Now, this calculator is only going to show MIFA's interest rates on our current loan programs, but if you want to just use round numbers, you can use a round number of about [00:26:00] 100 per 10, 000 that you borrow.

If you just want to use some round figures, but with this calculator allows you to put in the exact amount that you're looking at borrowing. Take into account how many years before the student graduates. So they're a freshman, so they're going to be four years. And because the loans are based on credit, we do want to look at, you know, your credit profile so you can estimate.

Now the, with most private loans, including loans through MIFA, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. The sooner you start paying the loan back, the For example, immediate repayment versus deferred, the lower interest rate, and that's often how it works with with many, many programs. So here you can see for that 20, 000 loan, if I wanted the cheapest loan that MIFA has, I would go with this 10 year immediate repayment loan.

So making payments of principal and interest while the students in school, it has the lowest rate of 5. 35 percent fixed. [00:27:00] And that payment is a little over 200 a month. But if you wanted to extend the repayment out, just, you know, get that payment down just a little bit lower. You could do a 15 year loan.

So you have five extra years and you can see the big difference in that monthly payment. It's about 167 a month, a little bit higher interest rate there. So you can see the rates do go up as you push out that repayment. But overall MIFA's rates range from about 5. 35 to less than eight percent, which is much lower than most private lenders.

It's even lower than the federal plus loan at over eight and over eight percent. So it's a good option if you need to borrow.

So if you're looking at these different programs and you're trying to think, okay, how do I make the numbers work here? A combination strategy is always a good way to try and minimize or eliminate borrowing. So for our 20, 000 balance due, we'll use that as an example. [00:28:00] Let's say we're putting some money from savings towards the balance.

So in this example, student worked over the summer. They're going to put 1, 000 down. Mom and dad, they saved 16, 000 in the savings plan. So they've decided we're going to do 4, 000 a year over four years for 16, 000 that we saved. So there's 5, 000 off the bill right there using some savings. Then, this family has said, I can afford 600 a month.

So if they can afford 600 a month, they don't need to borrow the full 20, 000 at a payment of about 200 more. So they can borrow less and put some money towards a payment plan. So in this example, they're going to do 500 a month on a 5, 000 10 month payment plan. So by using Savings and Payment Plan, we've chopped our bill in half before borrowing.

Now they still need to borrow in this example 10, 000, but it's a lot better than borrowing 20, 000 [00:29:00] just by utilizing Savings and Payment Plan. So their affordable monthly payment of 600. We have a 100 loan payment and a 500 a month 10 month payment plan, and that's our affordable 600 a month payment. So once you've looked at the different net prices at each school the student was accepted at and different options to pay the bill, just want to think about, okay, what, what's, what's next?

What's the timeline here? If you haven't submitted your FAFSA yet, go ahead, get online and do that ASAP. You want to make sure that you're meeting school deadlines as well as state aid deadlines. Right now, the deadline to file that FAFSA to be considered for state aid is May 1st. Federal aid, including those federal direct student loans, is available through the year.

Even if you're not sure if your family will qualify for federal aid, You should still fill out that FAFSA because they might just be getting that federal student [00:30:00] loan, which we always recommend if your family needs to borrow, borrow that federal direct student loan before any other borrowing. Payment plans are open to anyone.

You don't need to have good credit to use a payment plan, and anyone can apply for private loans as well. Now some colleges because of all the delays with the FAFSA this year have extended financial aid and enrollment deposit deadlines. So you want to be in touch with the colleges if you're having trouble meeting those deadlines to see if there is an extension and if they have any flexibility there.

Many colleges have committed to being very flexible with families this year due to the FAFSA delays and the delays in getting that FAFSA information so they can give you a financial offer. So just be patient with the colleges. They're Processing FAFSA information as quickly as they can, um, and they will get their financial aid offer, especially for first year students, out as soon as possible.

Once you decide where the student's going, then you want to make that enrollment deposit payment. [00:31:00] Usually it's about 500, approximately. And you want to make sure you do that before the college's deadline. Typically that deadline is May 1st, but we have heard from a lot of colleges here, colleges this year because the FAFSA delays that that could be even May 15th or June 1st.

So check in with them. Your fall semester bill will come sometime in late June and July. And it will be due about three to five weeks later. So you want to have a plan in place for payment before then. If you do need to borrow, give yourself a two week buffer before the bill is due. In case there's any credit issues or, you know, identity theft has, you know, caused you to have to freeze your credit, um, payments, you want to make sure you do that.

And set up those payment plans according to the college's schedule as soon as you can. Now, if the student was put on a [00:32:00] waitlist at a college, few things to think about to determine whether that college is even realistic if the student gets off the waitlist. Some schools have a very long waitlist and don't accept any students off of it.

Doesn't waitlist though. Sometimes colleges will not give financial aid out of their own resources to students who they take off a wait list. Whereas some colleges may give you the same aid off the wait list as they would if you were accepted early decision or even regular admissions. So find out from the college where you're What their financial aid policy is to determine if the student gets off the waitlist, whether you can even afford it.

If they say, yep, we'll give you financial aid. If we take you off the waitlist and you can still keep that school in the running. Now you do need to deposit at a school. The student was accepted to by their deadline, whatever their other choice school is. If they deposit at one school [00:33:00] and say, nope, we're gonna, we get off the waitlist.

We're going to go to a different school. You will lose that enrollment deposit. It it's usually non refundable. So once you've taken all that into consideration and you say, okay, yep, we're still interested in that school we're waitlisted for. You want to formally accept the spot on the waitlist, continue to be in touch with admissions, show that demonstrated interest in the college.

And let them know of any recent grades or test scores that can help boost your admissions application and be in touch with them.

So let's talk and end the video here with some free resources that are available to you. The financial aid office is going to be one of your best resources through this entire process. They will be able to talk to you about how your financial aid offer was, um, considered, what went into it. They can tell you about their financial aid renewability criteria for their own institutional aid, whether it be merit or need based aid.

If [00:34:00] you have any outside scholarships, you do have to report those to the college. They can let you know if that will have any impact on your financial aid. Again, I mentioned appeals earlier, unique circumstances. You do want to be in touch with the financial aid office about that to see if there's any, um, adjustments they can make to your financial aid offer given this new information and find out from the financial aid office what is the process to appeal.

Now, right now, because it's, I'm recording this video in the middle of March 2024. Uh, colleges are very, um, busy right now trying to process the FAFSA information that's just coming in. Normally they start getting this information in in October. So if you're trying to get through on the phone, just be patient, leave a voicemail, maybe send an email as a follow up so that you can, um, put yourself in the queue to get information back from the college.

Set up a chat, set up a zoom call, go to the accepted student day. [00:35:00] Sometimes they'll have financial aid programs or one on one appointments that you can schedule, but definitely, um, you know, be in touch with them if you need help. Utilize MIFA as a free resource. Don't be shy. MIFA has free Emails, guidance, blogs, webinars to help you through this process.

Go on me for dot org. Make sure you're signing up for emails. If you're not already getting that email curriculum, the websites are right here for you. And if you love podcasts, subscribe to our podcasts. We have lots of great guests on our podcasts. Uh, very entertaining, really superb. experts in the industry that we've had on our podcast.

So definitely take a look at that and give us a call. We're open Monday through Friday, nine to five to answer any questions that you have. We're often hosting evening events right now to help people with their FAFSA. And if you need a one on one appointment, we can do that too, even on a [00:36:00] zoom so that we can, uh, you know, see your financial aid offers and help you understand those.

So definitely take advantage of MIFA as your free resource. And then we also, as I mentioned, we have podcasts, videos, blogs, all kinds of great stuff on our website. And you can find that all on MIFA. org as well as links to all of our social channels, Instagram. Uh, we have our videos on Facebook. We're always putting out tweets on MIFA tweets so you can get that as well.

And be in touch. Don't be afraid to give MIFA a call. We're here to help. We have lots of experts at MIFA that know families or have questions about the FAFSA process or understanding financial aid offer, understanding how loans work. We can help you from everything, uh, from the beginning of the process to the end to help you with your loan.

Understand your financial aid offers, create a plan to pay for college, and really feel comfortable with that decision all while hopefully minimizing loan debt. So thank you for listening. We hope this information was helpful [00:37:00] and we hope to see you on the next MEFA webinar. Thank you and have a great day.

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