College Money Q&A

College Money Q&A

With FAFSA deadlines right around the corner, we thought we would highlight some commonly asked questions we get when it comes to college money.

Published Monday, March 25, 2013

Do I have to have my taxes filed before I complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
No, you do not have to have your taxes completed to complete the FAFSA. You can use your prior year tax information as an estimate and then when you do file your 2012 taxes, you can return to your FAFSA and enter the correct information using the enhanced IRS data retrieving tool.

Am I a dependent student or an independent student?
For purposes of applying for federal student aid, questions on the FAFSA will determine if you are a dependent or independent student. If you are a dependent student, you will submit your and your parent's information on the FAFSA. If you are an independent student, you will submit only your information on the FAFSA.

Do I need a co-borrower for private student loans?
This will depend on your financial institution. As an example, Elfcu does not require a co-borrower, but having one is highly recommended to help you meet approval criteria. Additionally, having a co-borrower with excellent credit may also help you qualify for lower rates.

Can I buy a laptop with my student loan money?
Please remember that any money you borrow will have to be repaid with interest. So we recommend considering all your resources, i.e. Could you get a part-time job and save money for laptop? Your school also may include the cost of a laptop/equipment when calculating the cost of attendance (COA). The COA may include not just tuition and fees, but also books, supplies such as computers, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. Check with your school’s financial aid office to verify what all is included in your COA.

How can I consolidate my student loans?
Once you've graduated, you may want to consolidate your loans. Here are a few steps to follow: 1. Gather all your student loan statements. 2. Determine which loans are federal and which are private. Hint: Federal loans include PLUS, Stafford, Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Direct Loans. 3. Federal and Private loans cannot be consolidated together. 4. Federal loans must be consolidated through the Direct Loan Program. Visit to consolidate your Federal Student Loans. 5. Some banks and credit unions including Elfcu will consolidate your private student loans.

For support as you submit the FAFSA or to get more answers to your College Money Questions, visit us at or call the Student Lending Hotline at 317.524.5168.

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