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Unless you have an older sibling, not many students get a chance to get real tips on budgeting for college.

Meal plans can be tricky to manage; it’s hard to get a grasp on what it costs to live ‘off-campus’ and then there are other costs (such as student tickets, intramural sports fees, etc.) that it’s hard to plan for as an 18-year-old venturing out of the nest for the first time.

So where can students turn for advice?

It’s been years since most teachers were college students, and probably even longer since a student’s parents were co-eds, so where are they supposed to turn for advice? If only students could ‘FaceTime a Friend’ to get some help on budgeting for college and other matters.

That’s where we step in.

Aren’t ‘Loans’ and ‘Aid’ the Same?

One thing Gage talks about in the video is the “aid” he received due to his family situation. That is in fact different from the loans that most people think of as federal funding.

Every student has the same availability to borrow from the government. There is a maximum amount you can borrow based on how long you’ve been in school, and whether or not you are an independent student. The government also sets on fixed interest rates for student loans, and that’s how it works.

Federal aid is a whole different beast. When budgeting for college, it’s important to understand how much in “aid” that you can receive, based on your financial need and your family situation. For more information on federal student aid, click here.

Need More Help With Budgeting For College?

This video is just the first in a series of ‘FaceTime a Friend’ features, and we’re looking forward to sharing more tips and insights into how to make your dream of a degree into a financial reality. The best part: You can have a hand in shaping what our future content looks like.

What type of questions do you have about college? Are there certain subject areas or topics you wish you could have a friend to chat with?

Find us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and leave a comment, or drop me a line at patrick.radigan@petersons.com with your question.