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Questions about Online Counseling and Online Education

If you continue to experience problems using Online Counseling or Online Education, we recommend you remove all spyware from your computer system. Spyware can cause intermittent problems and may affect only certain applications or websites. If you still have difficulty after that, you might want to use another computer.

What are the browser and system requirements?

  • You must use a minimum of Internet Explorer 7.0, Mozilla Firefox 13.0, or Google Chrome. Get a browser now.
  • You can use any Internet service provider (ISP) to connect to the Internet; however, you should access this session using one of the browsers above after you've connected (don't use the ISP's browser, such as AOL or MSN).
  • You must enable JavaScript in your browser.

If the question numbers display incorrectly when you answer a question wrong, ensure Java is enabled on your browser. If the issue persists try another browser such as Firefox or Chrome.

Determine what browser you're using

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Why do I have to complete an Online Counseling session?

Federal regulations require postsecondary schools to ensure students complete entrance and exit interviews (entrance interviews prior to receiving proceeds from a federal student loan and exit interviews shortly before the student ceases attending the school at least half time). The same regulation includes required content for counseling sessions and also recommends that schools administer a test to ensure students understand the loan and their rights and responsibilities.

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How do I complete a counseling session?

  • To begin an Online Counseling session, click on the "complete Online Counseling" tab in the top left of the page. Then, choose the appropriate counseling type. If you're not sure of your counseling type, please check with your school.
  • To begin a Guide to Life after High School session, go to

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Can I later return to a partially-completed session?

No. You cannot save a session to resume it at a later time. If you don't fully complete the session, you must start over from the beginning.

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Why isn't my school/educator on the list?

Schools/educators must elect to participate in our products. Check the correspondence from your school/educator to ensure you are doing the correct session (and correct type for Online Counseling). If you need to complete an Online Counseling session in which your school doesn't participate, talk to your school about alternative methods for fulfilling your obligation.

If you don't see any schools/educators in the drop-down menu, be sure you're using the proper Internet browser. If you still can't see any schools/educators in the menu, it might be easier to use another computer.

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How can I choose my country for the counseling session if the United States isn't on the list?

You should click on the "Continue" button immediately under the state selection box. Do not scroll down to click "Continue" under the country selection box.

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Why isn't my state or country on the list?

A state or country will only appear on the list if at least one school/educator in that location participates in the session. See the previous question for information about participation.

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Why do I have to complete an Online Counseling exit session if I transferred schools?

Federal regulations require exit counseling when a student drops below half-time attendance or graduates from an institution for which he or she borrowed a federal student loan, regardless if he or she has reenrolled or plans to enroll at the same or another institution.

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Why do I have to enter references?

Federal regulations require postsecondary schools to collect reference and next of kin information during entrance and exit counseling so your loan holder will have additional contacts in case they're unable to reach you in the future. You can list family members or close friends who live at different addresses.

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How can I complete the counseling session if I do not have a driver's license?

You aren't required to have a driver's license to complete an Online Counseling session, though you can't leave the fields blank. Instead, enter "NA" in the driver's license number field and then select "NA" from the drop-down box in the state field.

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What do I do if the answers to the questions don't pertain to me?

The questions are objective, not subject to your personal situation. You should be able to read the text on each page and answer the questions at the bottom of the page accordingly.

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How can I complete the calculators (budget or debt wizard) during an Online Counseling session if I don't have a job?

The budget calculator and debt wizard are tools to help you estimate your current or future financial situation. The information enter isn't retained in any way, so feel free to estimate.

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What security measures are in place to protect my privacy?

This site has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse, and alteration of the information we gather. See Mapping Your Future's privacy policy for more information.

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Why doesn't my school/educator have record that I completed a session?

Completion records are available to schools/educators in a secure area of the Mapping Your Future website as soon as you complete the session. In addition, schools/educators can elect to receive notification when sessions are completed. Some sort of manual intervention usually is needed to update the school/educator's records that the session was completed, therefore, we recommend you wait a few days. You can provide your confirmation page or number to your school/educator if they're unable to locate your record online.

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How can I correct information that I put on the student form in my session?

Contact us and provide your counseling confirmation number and the information to be corrected. Do NOT send your full Social Security number by e-mail. If necessary, you can just indicate the digits that need to be corrected (such as the first three digits).

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Why can't I pass the test? I've tried all combinations of answers.

If you do not answer a question correctly, you can try again. You will receive a message letting you know which question(s) on that page was answered incorrectly, and you can review the content before trying to answer the question(s) again. If you are not able to answer a question correctly, e-mail us with the question that is causing difficulty for you .

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I've entered all required information on the student form, including my date of birth. Why does the process fail when I try to submit the form?

This problem most likely is caused by the use of a proprietary browser from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as AOL or MSN. While you can use any ISP to connect to the Internet, you should access the session using one of the browsers above after you've connected.

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Why does nothing happen when I attempt to start?

Check the following:

  • If you have a slower connection (for example, if you have dial-up service), there might be a delay while the next page loads. The page might display with nothing on it while the page loads.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of your browser.

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Why did the session bump me and make me start from the beginning?

There could be a number of factors that cause this to happen:

  • Browser incompatibility and/or setup: Make sure you have the latest version of your browser. You also must enable JavaScript in your browser software. Sometimes an older browser will allow you to start but not complete the session.
  • High Internet traffic: The amount of traffic not only on the Mapping Your Future site but also on the Internet or at a specific Internet service provider can cause problems. High traffic times tend to be mid-day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you experience problems, you can complete a session earlier or later in the day.
  • Too much time spent on one page: If a page is left open for too long (approximately more than an hour or so), your Internet service provider or browser might assume you have left the session.
  • Computer incompatibility: Some computers are configured or have software installed that prevents certain applications from running.
  • Technical problems at Mapping Your Future: Like all websites, Mapping Your Future can experience technical problems and need to shut down temporarily. Most of these shutdowns are brief. We apologize for the inconvenience of any technical problems.

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After completing the budget, I click to submit, but I cannot proceed. How can I fix this?

After you complete the budget, the program attempts to transfer you to our secure server so you can submit your personal information. Your browser must support SSL (Secured Sockets Layer). Be sure to check the version of your browser. Also, see the question about security warnings.

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After taking the test, I received a security warning. If I complete the form, will my information be secure?

The site IS secure. This message can occur for a number of reasons:

  • Mapping Your Future's security certificate is issued to (no "www"). If you typed "www" in your browser to access a session, you might receive this warning. You can add as a "trusted site" in your browser to prevent this in the future.
  • You might have adware/spyware on your computer. Use spyware detection software.

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Why can't I successfully complete a session using a Macintosh computer?

We receive occasional reports of problems for Mac users, though the cause of the problem isn't evident. Use an IBM-compatible PC if you continue to experience difficulty.

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Questions about financial aid (grants, scholarships, and loans)

If you don't see your question, send us a message.

Who should apply for financial aid?

Anyone who is considering attending a postsecondary educational institution and feels they may need financial assistance should apply. There are many factors taken into account when packaging student aid, so the only way to know for sure whether or not you are eligible is to apply.

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How do I apply for financial aid?

If you are a first-time financial aid applicant, you need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The preferred method of completing the FAFSA is online at You may also request one from the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-4-FED-AID, contact the Financial Aid Office of the school you want to attend, or visit your local public library to pick one up.

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When do I apply for financial aid?

You need to complete and send in the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 of the fall academic year you plan to attend school. For example, if you plan to attend school in the fall of 2011, you need to complete an application as soon as possible after January 1, 2011. It also is a good idea to contact the financial aid office of the school to see what other guidelines and/or information are required.

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If I receive a scholarship, will it affect the amount of financial aid I receive from my college?

Scholarships are usually looked at in one of three ways:

  1. to fill "unmet need," meaning need for which you or your parents will have to borrow more money;
  2. to reduce the amount of money you need to borrow to attend college; or
  3. to reduce your college's grant assistance to you.

Call your school's financial aid office for specific information on how your school treats scholarships.

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I plan to go to school part time. Can I get financial aid?

Many aid programs are available to students who attend school at least half time. Some institutions give preference to full-time students.

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I am not living with my parents and receive no support from them. Can I file as a self-supporting student?

If you are under 24 years of age, you must file as a dependent student unless you meet certain criteria. Get a FAFSA for detailed information. If you do not meet the criteria on the FAFSA, contact your school to discuss your situation.

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How do I choose a lender?

Most school financial aid offices have a list of lenders that participate in the student loan program. You are provided the opportunity to choose the lender. If you already have a relationship with a particular lending institution or credit union, you may want to see if they offer student loans to their customers or members.

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Where is my Master Promissory Note?

Mapping Your Future only has access to your loan counseling data, and not that of your Master Promissory Note (MPN) or other loan processing information. Please contact your financial aid office or lender for more information about the MPN and loan application process.

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What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loan?

The subsidized Direct Loan is awarded on the basis of financial need, which is determined by the information you provide on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If you qualify for a subsidized loan, the federal government pays interest on the loan (subsidizes the loan) until you begin repayment and during authorized periods of deferment thereafter.

The unsubsidized Direct Loan is not awarded on the basis of need. If you qualify for an unsubsidized loan, you will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You can choose to pay the interest while you are in school and during your grace and authorized deferment periods or allow it to accumulate. If you allow the interest to accumulate, it will be added to the principal amount of your loan and will increase the amount you have to repay. If you pay the interest as it accumulates, you'll repay less in the long run.

More information

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What is the status of my loan?

You should contact your financial aid office or lender to determine the status of your loan. Keep in mind that the loan application process has several steps, so you should give the process some time to work through.

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When am I going to receive my loan funds?

You should refer to the loan documents from your lender or with your financial aid office for more information about the requested disbursement dates.

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How do I cancel my loan?

Contact your financial aid office if you want to reduce or cancel your loan amount.

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How do I contact my lender?

Mapping Your Future doesn't have information about your loans or your lender. Look for your loan lender's contact information in your loan documents. If you're unable to find this information, locate them now for more guidance.

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How do I reapply for a loan this year?

Contact your financial aid office about the loan application process.

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When will my Direct Loan enter repayment?

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a grace period of six months before you begin repayment on your Federal Stafford and Direct Loans. Your first payment will be due after your grace period expires.

If you return to school at least half time before your grace period expires, you will retain the entire 6-month grace grade period for your loans.

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How can I apply for a deferment or forbearance?

If you have a Federal Stafford or Direct Loan, contact your loan holder to apply for a deferment or forbearance. If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, contact your school.

More information 

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Do I qualify for loan forgiveness?

If, based on the loan forgiveness chart and its linked definitions, you think you are eligible for loan cancellation, contact your loan holder for an application. Mapping Your Future isn't able to make determinations on borrowers' eligibility for loan forgiveness. Be sure to contact all of your loan holders, and don't stop making payments until you receive written notification that your loan has been cancelled from each one, if applicable. If only a portion of your loan was cancelled, update your records with your new balance after verifying the information with your loan holder.

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I have defaulted on a student loan. Am I eligible for additional financial aid so that I may return to school?

If you arrange a payment schedule with the holder of your defaulted loan and if you make the payments on time, you may regain eligibility for additional financial aid, which includes grant aid and loans. Interested borrowers should contact their loan holder to receive more information about these programs and their requirements.

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Can I still get a student loan if I file or have filed for bankruptcy?

If you meet the rest of the eligibility requirements you cannot be denied a federal loan or grant just because you have filed for bankruptcy. You should contact your lender with questions specific to your circumstances. 

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Other questions

If you didn't find the answer to your question, send us a message.

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