Student loans, and other methods of funding one’s education, are a concern that most students at the University of Indianapolis must face. From scholarships, grants or loans, students explore a variety of options when seeking funding for tuition, room and board. When any student gets close to his or her student loan debt limit and does not know what to do next, he or she can go to the UIndy Financial Aid Office.
Assistant director of Financial Aid Sandy Osborne can offer guidance and information to students when they reach their limit.
“We offer links on the Financial Aid website along with having brochures and a scholarship book in the office to assist students,” she said.
Osborne said that the one thing students must do to receive help from the office and receive loans and financial aid is to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
“Once a student has done that [filed FAFSA], the Financial Aid Office can furthermore assist students on what they can do to be able to cover the cost of attendance,” she said.
Osborne also said that students should be aware of interest rates when they take out loans because that is money they will have to pay back.
“ … It [the loan] is accruing interest throughout the time a student is going to college,” she said. “Even though students do not need to pay on the debt while you are attending college, it is a good idea to pay down the interest at least.”
As for scholarships and grants, students can find help and financial aid in their own departments, according to Osborne.
“It is a good idea for the student, once they get to their second year at UIndy, to check within their own department of study to see if they [the departments] are awarding grants and scholarships to students that can be on merit or need based,” she said.
The Accounting Office at UIndy is also a place that can help students by helping them set up payment plans to pay back their loans.
According to Assistant Bursar Andrea Stranak, 700 students last semester used some kind of payment plan to pay off their loans. Stranak said there are multiple plans from which a student can choose, but it depends on when the student sets up a payment plan.
“Each semester, we have an up to five-month payment plan, if they have it planned out,” Stranak said. “Next option would be a four-month plan. Subsequently, there is a three-month, and then it would go to a half-and-half payment plan.”
Osborne said the National Student Loan Data System is beneficial for students.
Their website is NSLDS.ed.gov. This website not only has all federal loans offered on it, but there is also a breakdown of each loan. There is a Frequently Asked Questions forum that addresses questions students may have, such as “When do I have to start repaying my student loans?”
Stranak said that if any student needs guidance with financial aid, he or she is free to stop by and ask for help.
“The thing we want to stress to the students is to come see us if you are having issues trying to pay one’s bill,” she said. “Don’t hesitate to stop by the Accounting Office. We try to work with students as much as we can.”