WHERE IS MY FINANCIAL AID? I got a bill from my college for all my charges for this quarter and I still don't have my financial aid and I haven't been able to take out loans or do anything to make me feel better about my money situation. I have been trying to ignore the fact that classes start in two weeks and I have no money or even any paperwork telling me how to get money. Then this fucking letter shows up. I want to yell at it "I HAVE NOTHING. I CAN'T HELP YOU. PROCESS MY FAFSA PAPERWORK AND I'LL PAY YOU." I called the FinAid office of my college a week ago asking where they were at in processing my papers. They said it was on a counselor's desk, which is the last step before it's all finished. ARRRGGGHHH.

I'm the first person in my family to go to university and I have no idea how student loans work. I mean, I've done some research and I know that I can't take out more than the Cost of Attendance for my institution and other basic things like subsidized vs. unsubsidized vs. private. I don't even know if I can even get a private loan because I have no credit. When do I have to fill out all this paperwork? Will I be able to do it in less than two weeks? What happens if I don't pay because I have no money and my financial aid hasn't come through?

Any words of advice? Stories of your own college financial aid that turned out okay after giving you massive anxiety? Student loan info (specifically private loans)?

ETA: Financial Aid office says it won't be ready before classes start and that I have to pay a third of it by the end of the first week of classes or get hit with a $100 late fee. Looks like I won't be paying rent or bills on time for October. Crying in earnest now.