Can someone explain how student loans work?

Answers:0   |   LastUpdateAt:2012-11-06 03:39:18  

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sadie HELP!!!!!!!!!
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And really, student financial aid in general. Of course I'm going to speak with the college itself, but it's Saturday night/Sunday morning, and I'm really stressing about this right now.
First off, student loans. How does interest on them work? Does the interest accrue starting on the day I get the loan, so that when payments begin six months after graduation, my balance is already greatly inflated? Or does interest start once payments start? How long does it usually take for the student loan process to go through? If I applied for one next month, would I be able to have the money in time to pay for the spring semester?
Next, financial aid in general. How does a student starting in the spring get need-based aid? The deadline for the FAFSA was months ago for this current school year, but not every student takes the traditional route and starts in the fall, so is there any way to still get aid for the spring?
I know this all probably depends on the individual college/lender/whatever, but can I have some generalizations, please?
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