Accessing financial aid

As a student it can be hard to understand how financial aid works but there are plenty of people here to help. Hamline’s director of financial aid Lynette Wahl has advice for students looking to take full advantage of financial aid.

Chloe Kucera, News Reporter

What is FAFSA and how does it work?

The month of October brings fall leaves and spooky season, but it is also Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) month, with the FAFSA form opening annually on Oct. 1 for the following school year.

Although October may seem early to fill out the application, according to, the earlier it is completed the better chance there is to qualify for federal, state and college offered grants. 

Hamline’s office of Financial Aid is here to help when questions arrive about FAFSA.

“Students can make appointments and we can help them and answer any questions on the vessel form itself,” Hamline Senior Director of Financial Aid and Enrollment Lynette Wahl said. “It’s challenging the fact that parents’ information in most cases need to be on FAFSA form … and now in the age of Google meets, we can actually get the student and parent and financial aid counselor online to answer those questions together.”


What other aid opportunities exist?

Besides FAFSA, there are a number of other forms of student aid that people may not know about. 

“For instance, maybe students with children have no idea that the Minnesota State has a Minnesota State child care program,” Wahl said. “That’s one that it’s probably underutilized with our population.”

There are many programs that are targeted for specific situations students may experience.

“There’s a foster care program. There’s a program for teachers. And on the note of teachers, there’s a state program, and there’s a federal program so people who are actually declared co-majors or major-majors in education should look into those programs,” Wahl said.

There are also certain loopholes that students might not be aware of when it comes to how a student’s parents may impact their loan and financial situation.

“Something that students might not know is that the Parent PLUS loan has a kind of a loophole in it that if the parent is denied … students can get an additional amount in an unsubsidized loan,” Wahl said. “They were just like, ‘Oh, my parents don’t qualify’ and just never move forward. But not knowing if they don’t qualify and they get denied, we can give them additional loans in their own name, rather than the parents name. It may not be the same amount, but there’s kind of that loophole that we’re able to help students with.”

Another good resource for students is Hamline’s financial aid website which details important information regarding grants, scholarships, loans and other financial aid opportunities for students to explore. The website can be found at


The U.S.’s Loan Forgiveness Program: what is it and what should students do? 

President Joe Biden’s loan forgiveness program has recently opened for application. According to, “The Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education, and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients.”

There are important facts for students to know about this program such as the importance of completeting the application.

“Make sure you apply on time,” Wahl said. ”Even though they say it might automatically be forgiven for students, I would still do an application.” 

Scams have also started to pop up mimicking the Loan Forgiveness application. 

“Make sure everything that they’re doing is coming from a dot gov website or email, because there’s going to be tons of people in tons of places reaching out to students and saying, ‘Hey, give me your information. We’re going to help you go through this process,’” Wahl said. “Make sure it’s directly from the government because everything else is probably trying to get [your] personal information to do identity fraud, because you have to put your [social] security number in this information.” 

As of Sunday, Oct. 23, the 8th circuit Court of Appeals has stayed Biden’s effort to forgive student loans until the six appeals in Republican-led states are decided, according to AP News on Oct. 22. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre encouraged folks to continue to apply to the program despite the current block as the applications are still being accepted and reviewed. 

To apply for the Loan forgiveness program, visit