so lets say you need get the 38500 from the stafford loans but will also be getting 26500 from alternate loans...does this all include living expenses? if so,how do we get the money,since it goes to pay tuition first?
As far as I know, a check is issued to your school and then whatever doesn't cover tuition is issued back to you from the school. This is usually done in two installments (i.e. fall and spring semester beginnings).
The total student budget includes living expenses along with tuition, books, and fees. The amount you borrow can go up to the total budget, and after tuition and fees are deducted, the school will issue you a check, or use EFT to deposit it straight into the bank account you specify. Usually the money is available shortly before school starts (like a day or two) but not everywhere, so plan to have at least living expenses for the first month of school (including the deposit for an apartment) and money for books. If your school uses blocks rather than semester long courses, you won't need to buy all the semester's books at the beginning, just some.