Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens the door to a world of financial assistance you would not otherwise have available to you. When you file the FAFSA as a first-time college student, you are considered for all of the following federal aid grant and loan programs.
These are forms of financial assistance that families are not responsible for paying back.
Pell Grants are awarded to students whose Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is less than $5,486. The grants averaged $3000 but ranged up to $6,095. Students taking summer classes may be eligible for additional Pell funds. The grant amount depends on need and the total amount of funds appropriated by Congress for the program.
FSEOGs are available to a limited number of students who demonstrate significant financial need. In awarding these grants, the government gives priority to the students with the greatest need. The average award per year is $1,000.
The Federal Work-Study program provides part-time jobs for students who need financial assistance. Jobs are available both on and off campus. Students receive paychecks to help with personal expenses up to a maximum of $2,500 per year.
Education loans are financial awards paid by the U.S. government to students and families under the condition that they will be paid back, over time, by the borrower after graduation. To be considered for a federal education loan:
Stafford Loans come in two types, subsidized and unsubsidized loans. For subsidized loans, the government pays interest on the loan while the student is in school. Eligibility is based on financial need. For unsubsidized loans, all interest is paid by the borrower. (However, interest payments may be deferred by adding their amount to the principal.) The grace period for Stafford Loans is six months after graduation or un-enrolling from the college.
The Federal PLUS Loan is one option for covering the difference between any financial aid that has been awarded and the total estimated cost of education, as approved by the Office of Financial Aid. PLUS Loans are based on the credit standing of the borrower rather than on financial need. To learn how to apply, visit the Office of Financial Aid PLUS overview. Payment generally begins 60 days after the second disbursement. In other words, repayment typically begins while the student is still in school.