FAFSA Exit Counseling
When students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and they’re provided with a student loan from the U.S. Department of Education, it’s often a time of celebration. After all, students who get these loans have a verified source that can help them to cover their tuition bills, and that might make their dream of a higher education possible.
But sometimes, students don’t read the fine print of the loans they get, and when this happens, students can make some terrible mistakes. For example, a report produced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggests that some 3,800 students had complaints about their student loans, and many of these students were unaware of the repayment schedules they were required to stick to. Now, many of the students included in this report had private loans, not federal options, but even students who have federal loans might have the same sorts of issues.
Exit counseling is designed to help. Students who obtain federal loans for their educations must participate in this program, and by doing so, they may avoid some of the more serious consequences that can come about when their post-graduation plans don’t work out quite right.
It Starts With a FAFSA
Students who want to obtain a loan from the U.S. Department of Education must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to get the process started. When students begin the application process, they’ll be given a Federal Student Aid PIN. The U.S. Department of Education reports that this PIN expires after 18 months of disuse, but typically, students who borrow from the Department of Education use the PIN regularly in order to:
- Fill out the yearly FAFSA
- View records of prior federal student aid awards
- Apply for consolidation loans
- Apply for Direct PLUS Loans
The PIN is also a student’s ticket to exit counseling, so it’s vital that students hang onto this number clear up until they graduate. That FAFSA PIN will help them to prepare for this important stage in the borrowing process.
When students have completed their degrees, or they drop out of their school programs, they’re required to go through this exit counseling process. It takes only a few moments to complete, and the whole process can be done online.
Students can sign into the module with their FAFSA PIN, and then click on the “Exit Counseling” button. Then, they’ll go through a series of screens that teach them how the loans work, how they should be paid back and what consequences might befall a student who chooses to skip out on those obligations. There are quizzes involved, just to ensure that students are really paying attention to the information provided, but the text is generally considered easy to digest and easy to understand. Students should emerge from this training session with a good understanding of what they’re required to do and when they’re required to get started.
The module contains a tour function, for those students who would like to just browse the site without filling out any information. But it’s best for students to actually log in and complete that training soon after graduation. Participation is mandatory, after all.
If you’d like to know more about how to handle your student loan debt, please browse our website. We can help you find consolidation loans that can help, and our articles will help you to understand your obligations as a debtor.
- FAFSA Home
- Demystifying the FAFSA
- Filling It Out
- Financial Stability
- How the FAFSA Challenged Us to Find Alternative Funding
- Independent or Dependent Student Status?
- Limited Space for College Listings
- Making Corrections
- Reality Check
- Revising: A Primer for Parents
- That Wasn't So Bad After All
- The Calculations Behind the Application
- To-Do Lists, Anxiety, and Preparing for College
- What Happens Next?
- Why Submit the FAFSA
- Your Gateway to Financial Aid