FAFSA FAQs

We want to help make your FAFSA application as smooth as possible. We’re here to answer some of the most common FAFSA questions that you may have.

Making Payments

You can calculate your monthly payments one of two ways:

1. Estimate your payments by using the Department of Education’s Repayment Estimator. Using the estimator, you have two options:

a. Click “Proceed” if you know about how much you owe in student loans and want a quick estimate.

b. Click “Log in” if you want a more exact number. When you log in, the system will pull in all of your federal student loans found in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and estimate a plan based on what you currently have in federal student loan debt.

2. Contact your servicer. You can find your servicer at NSLDS.ed.gov.

You can contact your servicer and ask about an Income Based Repayment Plan. The servicer will ask questions concerning your annual income, household size and other information to find a repayment plan that best fits your needs. If you are not able to make any payments at this time due to hardship, you may also ask your servicer about the other options to temporarily postpone payments until you are able to make payments again. To find out what company services your federal student loans, log into NSLDS.ed.gov.

A forbearance is a temporary postponement of your loan payments and can be used up to 12 months at a time, for a total of 36 months. You can apply for a forbearance verbally by calling your servicer, or you can complete a paper forbearance form and submit to your servicer for processing. There is another postponement type, called a deferment, in which you must meet certain qualifications. It is important to know that unlike a deferment, interest does accrue while on a forbearance. Forbearance approval is reliant upon servicer discretion. Please contact your servicer directly to determine specific regulations, and to see if you qualify. To find out what company services your federal student loans, log into NSLDS.ed.gov.

A deferment is a postponement option that allows you to temporarily suspend your federal student loan payments. You must meet the qualifications of a deferment and often submit supporting documentation prior to approval. While on a deferment you are not required to pay the interest on subsidized loans. There are deferment opportunities available for unemployment, economic hardship, school enrollment and involvement in the military. The length of the deferment is dependent on the postponement type. To determine the deferment option that best suits your situation, contact your servicer for more information. To find out what company services your federal student loans, log into NSLDS.ed.gov.

You have 36 months of general forbearance time and you may use up to 12 months at a time. If after 12 months of general forbearance time you are still struggling to make payments, a better option may be an income-driven repayment plan or a mandatory student debt forbearance which does not have the same time constraints. Once your 36 months of forbearance have been exhausted, you will not be eligible for additional forbearance time unless you consolidate your loans, at which time your general forbearance time starts over. Deferments also have timeframe limits. If you use the maximum deferment timeframe and are struggling to make payments, consider an income-driven payment plan, mandatory student loan debt forbearance or general forbearance.

Forbearance and deferment applications take about 7-10 business days to process once received by your servicer. You should receive communication from your servicer informing you whether the application was approved or denied. If you have not yet received communication from your servicer, your best course of action is to call them as soon as possible to find out if your application was received. Your servicer can provide you with the information you will need to resubmit your application and help avoid delinquency while it’s being processed. If you mailed your forbearance or deferment application, please allow additional time for processing. To find out what company services your federal student loans, log into NSLDS.ed.gov.

Thunder on Campus

Loan Ownership

Schools are allowed to keep a portion of your federal student aid, and apply it to any charges incurred, based on the amount of time you attended class. If you never attended, and dropped any scheduled courses prior to the start date, you should not have received any financial aid. If you attended class, even if it was for a short amount of time, you will still be charged for a portion of the class, per your enrollment agreement. If you leave before completing your classes, the school will determine how much of your financial aid was earned and will return the unearned portion to the Department of Education. This will reduce the amount you owe overall, but you may still owe a small amount. Additionally, excess funds are often sent to students in the form of a stipend check. These excess funds may include monies from federal student aid, including loans. This may increase the amount of your federal student loans unless the stipend check is voided and returned to the school to be credited back to your account.

Q: I was not aware I took out loans, what do I do?

A: Contact your student services counselor (SSC) who can help answer any questions you have about your school related charges. You can access your SSC’s contact information by logging into your school portal. If you do not have access to your portal, please contact the GCU Main Line at: 800-800-9776 and you will be transferred to your counselor.

Billing

The servicer is responsible for taking payments and setting up your repayment plan. You can find your servicer by accessing your account on NSLDS.ed.gov. You will automatically be put into the Standard Repayment Plan if you do not contact your servicer. This plan will have the highest payments but will have the lowest interest and the shortest term. For more information on how to repay your loan, refer to the Repaying Your Loans guide offered by the Department of Education.

A student loan servicer is the company that manages your particular student loans. Your servicer has several functions, such as collecting payments, applying postponements, helping select the best repayment plan and can address any questions that you may have regarding your loans. To find out who your loan servicer is, please log in to the National Student Loan Data System at NSLDS.ed.gov.

Whenever a student is enrolled in a course that is considered 0 credit hours or only enrolls in a limited amount of credits (below half-time), they may not be considered a full-time student and as a result become responsible for paying their student loans while in school. Talk to your Student Services Counselor in order to obtain more information regarding being a full-time student.

After your last date of attendance from your university, you have a grace period of six months in which you are not held responsible for making student loan payments. After the six months, you will begin getting charged for your student loans. If you attend another university within the six-month grace period, your loans will be put in an in-school deferment as long as you are enrolled in at least a half-time status. Once you leave school again, you will have a new six-month grace period for both your old and new school loans. If you attend a new university after the six-month grace period, your loans will still be put in an in-school deferment as long as you are enrolled in at least a half-time status. However, after leaving school, the first school loan will go into repayment in about 45 days, while the new loan will have a six-month grace period.

Payments take about 1-2 business days to process. If the funds have been withdrawn from your payment account but have not yet been credited to your loan account, your best course of action is to call your servicer as soon as possible. Depending on your method of payment, you may need to work with your bank or payment issuing institution to determine whether the funds were paid, and to whom. If the funds have not yet left your payment account, your payment may still be processing, or there may have been an error in submitting your payment. Payments made by mail can sometimes be lost in transit, so it is best to save all money order receipts and check copies until you are sure the payment has been credited to your loan account. If you made a payment and your servicer shows it is processed, but you are still delinquent, you most likely did not pay the full amount that was past due. If this is your situation, contact your servicer for more information. To find out what company services your federal student loans, log into NSLDS.ed.gov.

Unpaid interest accrues on your federal unsubsidized student loan from the moment it is dispersed and is then added to the principle balance of your loan when you graduate, or drop below half-time attendance. This interest capitalization occurs as soon as the in-school deferment period has ended.

GCU Campus Students