If you’re looking for help in financing your education, there are a number of things you’ll want to consider, including how to apply, the different types of aid available, whether or not you qualify for financial aid, and how to manage your loans.
Here’s a closer look at what students should know about financial aid.
1. What types of financial aid are available?
There are a wide variety of options for students interested in financial assistance. Here’s a brief breakdown of the most common types of financial aid:
Grants are typically need-based and do not need to be repaid. Depending on the aid program offering the grant, there are different criteria you must meet in order to qualify.
Students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for federal grants as well as many institutional and state grants.
Loans are a form of financial aid which must be repaid. As a student, you’ll borrow money from a government or private lender (depending on the type of loan) and will later pay back the amount, plus interest.
With loans, it’s critically important to understand all the terms and conditions that go along with your agreement, as these will dictate how much you need to pay back and when. Federal Direct student loans may offer repayment plans not offered by private banks. Students should research the terms and conditions of any loan before borrowing.
Students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for Federal Direct student loans.
Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs allow students to earn money to help pay for their education.
Students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for FWS funds.
Scholarships are similar to grants in that they do not need to be repaid. You can obtain scholarships from many different organizations, as well as employers, religious groups and schools.
The federal government and other organizations offer financial aid for students who are active military personnel, veterans, or individuals related to veterans or active duty personnel.
You can also visit our website for more information on all types of financial aid.
2. Who gets financial aid?
Depending on the type of aid, there are different criteria students must meet in order to qualify.
To find out the criteria for the type of financial aid of your choosing, contact the supporting organization for more information. You can also visit the Federal Student Aid website for information on eligibility criteria for federal student aid programs.
3. How to apply for financial aid
Depending on the type of financial aid you’re interested in, the application process will be different. But no matter what, it’s a good idea to start with the FAFSA.
Here’s a look at the details surrounding the Federal Student Aid (FSA) we mentioned earlier.
4. How to manage your loans
If you end up taking out a loan, here are some tips on how to manage your payments.
Understand the nature of your loan Make sure you’re clear on what you owe. If you’ve got a federal student loan, you can find out your balance and other details via the National Student Loan Data System. If you have a private loan, you can see a listing of all your creditors and their contact information via a credit report from a service like AnnualCreditReport.com.
Be aware of communications from your loan servicer Messages will contain information about repayment plans and when your payments will begin. If you move or change your contact information (phone number, email address), you’ll need to notify your loan servicer soon after.
Pick the repayment option that is right for you With Federal Direct loans, there are several different repayment options, so you’ll want to fully understand the benefits and possible tradeoffs of each plan.
If you have more specific questions about financial aid, admissions representatives at your schools of interest should be able to answer any questions you have.
By Ryan Segovich
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