Tables to offer help with loans

Those interested in applying for financial aid don't have to make that trip to Lucina Hall.

The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid is setting up tables around campus so students can get more information about loans, grants and scholarships. Representatives will be in the Art and Journalism Building today from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Bracken Library from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and in Teachers College from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Monday.

"We're here to help them process those loans and help them find the resources to pay for their education," said, Robert Zellers, the director of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

Even though tables are available, it is easy to get into the financial aid office, Zellers said. Most of the time students can walk in without an appointment and talk to either an office staff member or a financial aid counselor.

Despite tuition increases, Zellers said the number of students applying for loans has basically remained the same.

"We haven't seen any significant increases in student loans," he said. "I don't know what the increase (in school costs) is going to be, so there may be some increase in borrowing."

Zellers said 65 percent of Ball State's students use student loans to pay for some, if not all, of their education. There are several different loans available.

The Subsidized Stafford Loan is for students who demonstrate financial need according to regulations established by Congress and by the university.

Students who qualify for a subsidized loan do not have to pay any interest while they are in school because the government pays for it. After students finish school, they are responsible for paying the interest and the principal, or the amount borrowed. There is a six-month grace period before students must make payments on the loan.

Zellers said "need" has a specific definition of who is eligible for the subsidized loan. Need is determined by taking the difference between the school's cost of attendance and the expected family financial contribution. If students demonstrate need for assistance, they can apply for the subsidized loan.

For those who don't qualify for the subsidized loan, there is the unsubsidized loan. The loans are similar, but students with unsubsidized loans make interest payments while still in school. Neither requires students to begin payments for the principal until six months after their graduation.

Students have other responsibilities other than just getting a loan and paying it back after they get through with college.

According to Zellers, students who get loans have to attend a counseling session so they will learn their responsibilities and rights as a borrower.

Before leaving, students retake the same program, Zellers said.

These sessions can be taken any time online at the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid Web site,, or in the office during summer orientation.

Ball State parents also have loan options. Parents can apply for a Plus Loan, a loan through the university designed for parents to help pay for their child's education.

Even if students don't get loans, there are other ways to get money.

The financial aid office has another form regarding both federal and state grants and scholarships. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid gives a summary of students' and parents' incomes. Students who fill out the FAFSA form are eligible for annual federal and state grants.

In order to be eligible for both federal and state grants, the FAFSA form must filled out and postmarked by March 1. Tax return information for this year, if possible, should also be included.

Students who cannot get their taxes done before the deadline can estimate their income based on last year's tax return. They must, however, correct the information when their taxes are completed.

Students can also apply directly online at without going to Lucina to get the forms.

Zellers said the busiest time for the office is the beginning of the spring semester.

"This time of year we get busy because people can apply for next year's benefits," he said.

Students interested in financial aid can go to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid Web site for more information or stop by the office, Lucina Hall Room 245, if they can't make it to this week's on-campus locations.


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue

Loading Recent Classifieds...