Today, we’re talking about FA paperwork. Should you keep it or should you toss it? Once upon a time, I was told “If you’re not sure if what you’re about to do something right or wrong, then you should probably just assume it’s wrong.” The same thing applies to FA paperwork: if you’re not sure if you should hang onto it or not, just hang onto it. Why? It’s hard to get a copy of something you need if you got rid of it. Worst case scenario, you have papers you don’t need or duplicates of papers you already have. But, it’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have.
Second point on this is to remember to keep your FA paperwork in a safe and organized place. You don’t want to just throw everything in a box and forget it until you have more paperwork. It’s best to organize neatly your paperwork, such as keep loan, grant, scholarship, and other FA paperwork separate. Also be sure to arrange them by date, usually the newest in the front is a good idea. Also, don’t forget that paperwork from your school and from your loan servicer should be separate also, that way they are easier to find if you need to talk to either.
Third point that should be made is if you are indeed positive that it’s ok to get rid of something, then you shouldn’t just throw it away. If you just throw something in the trash, you could run the risk of having your identity stolen. Remember, paperwork often has your name, date of birth, and social security number which is all someone needs to ruin your credit. Instead, paperwork should be shredded, and if you don’t have access to a shredder, then at least tear the paperwork enough to make it difficult someone to piece together your personal information.
Don’t forget that you will be getting a lot of paperwork over the course of your school term and repayment term. It will start off with confirmations (such as PIN and FAFSA confirmations) and end with your repayment statements. If you’re expecting paperwork that doesn’t arrive, make sure you contact someone to ask where it is. And as always, when in doubt, call your campus to ask what to do. The worst thing anyone can do is ignore the situation, because ignoring always makes things worse.