Federal Financial Aid

Federal Financial Aid options to help you in your academic degree

Financial Aid Program Type Interest Rate Notes
Federal Pell Grant Grant N/A Primarily for undergraduate students
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants Grant N/A Limited Availability
Federal Work Study Part Time Job N/A Arranged through the school
Federal Perkins Loans Loan 5 percent Repay over 10 years, starting 9 months after graduation
Federal Stafford Loans Loan Variable, but will not exceed 8.25 percent Variable payback period, starting 6 months after graduation
PLUS Loans Loan Variable, but will not exceed 9 percent Variable payback period, starting 60 days after receipt
Consolidation Loans Loan Variable, but will not exceed 8.25 percent Used only to consolidate other types of financial aid assistant received

Financial Aid Overview

It's a daunting experience choosing a college for your kids to go to or for your kids to decide which college they should attend. It's even more challenging choosing a major. The financing is always tough as is choosing the school. All of these make it hard to find the right college or university to go to for an academic degree.

Financial aid can be complicated with all the choices and qualifications. The key is research, so you know exactly what you need to do. Some of the following will help you making your choices.

  1. All colleges and universities have financial aid councilors. Use them to provide you with information to make an informed choice. If you just go with the first package, you may end up owing more than your academic degree is worth.
  2. Analyze your situation first before you choose a financial aid package. Look at your income, expenses, assets and how much you owe. Knowing where you stand makes the process go smoother.
  3. Know how much the total cost of your academic degree will cost you. There are more costs than just the tuition such as living expenses, food, books, and supplies for classes.
  4. The easiest way to apply for financial aid is to have all the documents ready beforehand. Fill them out and be sure you understand what they say. If you need a lawyer to explain them to you, get one. You'll also need your tax returns, W-2 forms, and other documents. See "Expected Family Contribution" below.
  5. You'll need to fill out the FAFSA from first. It needs to be completed and filed on time.
  6. After you file the FAFSA form, you'll receive a report known as the Student Aid Report or SAR. The SAR tells you what is expected from your family in terms of what they will be contributing to your college fund. The report is called Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Be sure you understand what is mean for your family's contribution to your college expenses.
  7. Figure out how much you are eligible to receive. That would be the total college expense minus the EFC.
  8. Talk with the college councilor to create a financial aid plan that will fit your budget. Also, check into scholarship programs and grants to lower the cost of your academic degree.

After you have all the information you need for your academic degree finances, you're ready for the process to begin.

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