Insider Tips on How to Get Started with Financial Aid

financial aid

Starting college can be intimidating, especially when it comes to discussing personal financial situations and educational funding options. The costs associated with enrolling in college can make some people very nervous, and there is nothing worse than starting school and being stressed about finances.

Nightingale College’s Financial Aid department is here to help in any way possible. Not only is it our job to help, but we love helping you and there is no such thing as a stupid question. So make the most of it when you meet with Financial Aid and keep your ears open and ask a lot of questions. The financial aid process can be daunting and you are receiving so much information all at once, but it is your responsibility to speak up if there is something you don’t understand. We don’t know that you need help to better understand the financial options and requirements unless you tell us.

It’s true that not everyone knows how to budget or how to tackle their finances, but don’t let it worry you or change your focus of getting a degree. There are many, many tools available to help you along the financial aid process, but one of the most important tools is the services that the school provides you, such as the Financial Aid department.

Creating Your In-School Budget

A tool that is provided to all learners is the Imagine America-Financial Planning Made Simple tutorial. Learning how to budget prior to making any official financial commitments is essential; plus, it is a requirement to complete the tutorial before meeting with a Financial Aid Advisor. It is always important to review your current financial situation before engaging in any future financial commitment. The Imagine America tutorial illustrates the “bigger picture” of budgeting and introduces concepts from a different perspective.

Below is a list of websites with tools to assist you with creating an in-school budget:

The publication “Be a Responsible Borrower: Plan Ahead and Graduate with Less Debt,” is an additional resource that breaks down how to be on top of college finances and provides tips on how to decrease the debt left after graduation.

Options to Pay for School

Consider the various financial opportunities to fund your education and choose carefully regarding college financing. Please don’t limit yourself to just one possibility. It takes time and energy to look for financial help, so BE PROACTIVE and DETERMINED. Financial aid opportunities are endless. Here are a few financial options that are available to eligible applicants; however, keep in mind that there are more possibilities than those listed below:

  • Federal Student Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans)
  • Grants (Federal Pell Grants, State Grants, Minority Grants, Student Specific Grants)
  • Scholarships- View Nightingale College’s scholarships
  • Third Party Loans (MACU, personal bank)
  • Savings account
  • Official benefactors
  • Income Tax credits (The American Opportunity Tax Credit, Life Time Learning Credit)

Federal Student Aid

Choosing the route of applying for federal student aid is a great start. So, what can you expect when applying for federal student aid?

  • You will be required to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
  • Not everyone is eligible for Federal Pell Grants or Federal Student Loans.
  • You will be required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Requirements (SAP). (SAP is defined in the Nightingale College Catalog)
  • You will need to renew your FAFSA each year that you will be receiving aid.
  • You will be required to complete Loan Counseling and a Master Promissory Note to receive Federal Student Loans. (Please see the Loan Counseling (LC) and Master Promissory Note (MPN) directions that are available on the Nightingale website under Financial Aid)
  • The importance of loan counseling is to help you understand what a direct loanis and how the loan process works. Additionally, loan counseling helps you manage your education expenses and lists your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. (For more information on loan counseling, visit FSA’s website.)
  • The importance of a Master Promissory Note is to ensure your promise in repaying your loans and any accrued interest or fees. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan. (For more information on Master Promissory Note, visit FSA’s website.)

Questions that You Should be Asking Regarding Your Student Loans

When coming to talk with financial aid, have questions ready to go. Sometimes it is difficult to think of questions on the spot, so it is beneficial to have at least a few questions outlined. Check out some of the questions learners have asked the Financial Aid Department:

  • What type of loan am I receiving?
  • What is the interest rate on my student loan?
  • How is interest calculated?
  • When do I need to start making payments on my student loan?
  • What are my repayment options?
  • Can I make payments while I am in school?

The Financial Aid Department is here to steer you in the right direction. Don’t be deterred by false information that can be found online or is given to you by a friend. When a question arises, stop by and let us get you the right answer.

Visit Nightingale College’s Financial Aid page at and the Scholarships page at

Remember to frequently meet with a Financial Aid Advisor to stay current on your individual financial status so you don’t fall behind on payments. Call (801) 689-2160 to make an appointment.