All students to review federal loans in summer 2021, not just freshmen

All+students+to+review+federal+loans+in+summer+2021%2C+not+just+freshmen

All students to review federal loans in summer 2021, not just freshmen

Josie Bixler Reporter

Beginning in summer of 2021, students will need to review their federal loans every year by completing an Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement form.

In previous years, first-time borrowers were required to fill out a form recognizing their student loans and to complete entrance loan counseling. This was a one-time process that was good for ten years, said Sylvia Bustard, the associate director for the Financial Aid Office at Kent State.

However, at the start of the next financial award year, the long-held setup of a “one-and-done” completion is changing to an annual requirement.

“The point is to help students keep track of how much they’ve borrowed,” Bustard said, “something they’ll have to acknowledge every year.”

Anna, a digital media production Kent State graduate who asked her last name be kept confidential, graduated last May with about $22,000 in student loan debt. She only had to complete the first-time borrower form, and from that point forward was not required to review her loans until graduation.

“I wish that I would have been more invested in it and knew more about what was going on,” Anna said. “If I had been more invested, I might not have had to take out as many loans, specifically in my last semester.”

At the end of her sophomore year, Anna did a self check-up on the state of her loans and was able to make some decisions to minimize the amount of her student loan debt. 

“I decided to move off campus my junior and senior year. To have the meal plan and the room was super expensive, and moving off campus helped save a lot,” Anna said.

However, Anna’s advice to students yet to graduate is to “stay on top of your loans” to make the best financial decisions every semester. And with the annual enforcement of the acknowledgment form, students will have to, at least to a certain extent.

“It’s so important to be aware of your options and make informed decisions because cost should be a factor for everyone,” Bustard said. 

Students can stay informed by taking advantage of available resources like the financial awareness counseling option that is something “all students can do at any point in their undergraduate or graduate career” Bustard said.

Bustard also recommended reaching out to the loan servicer for more information to help navigate the payment portal or keep track of loans through the semester.

And most of all, Bustard encourages students to ask questions about anything that is confusing them.

“We understand that some students might be afraid to reach out because financial matters can be confusing, but that is what we are here for and would love to help answer any questions.”

Josie Bixler is a jobs and money reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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