Q&A on federal financial aid

Q: What types of federal student aid are available to me?
The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program — Under this, the largest federal student loan program, the Department of Education is your lender rather than another financial institution. The two types of Direct Loans are:

Direct Unsubsidized Loans — Students deemed eligible may borrow as much as $20,500 per school year. Graduate and professional students in some health profession programs may receive additional amounts yearly.

Direct PLUS Loans — Eligible students who need to borrow more than the maximum unsubsidized loan amounts can seek a PLUS loan.

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Other types of loans and grants:

Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program — This loan is school-based and applies to students with exceptional financial need. The program provides up to $8,000 per year, depending on several factors.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant — This program allots grants of as much as $4,000 per year to students completing course work needed to start a teaching career. The program requires certain classes and certain job choices to keep the grant from turning into a loan after graduation.

Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program — This program gives graduate students with financial need part-time jobs. It allows students to earn money to help pay for their education.

Federal Pell Grant — Unlike a loan, these grants do not have to be repaid, but are not available to all graduate students.  A student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program may be eligible.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements?

In order to qualify for federal student aid, one must meet some requirements. General eligibility requirements include:

 Financial need (for most programs),

• U.S. citizenship or be a eligible noncitizen

• Be enrolled or accepted as a regular student in an  eligible program

Q: How do I apply for aid?

First, complete the FAFSASM. Many states and colleges use your FAFSA data to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.

Q: Does my parents’ personal and financial information get reported on the FAFSAM?

Graduate and professional degree students are considered independent and are not required to give parental information.

Q: How long does the FAFSA take to complete? What does it cost?

Recent statistics show that it takes about 17 minutes to complete the form online and it is free to complete.

Q: Are private loans as desirable as federal student loans?

Federal student loans offer more repayment plans, including an option to tie your monthly payment to your income. Learn about other differences at StudentAid.gov/federal-vs-private.

Q: What other types of aid are available?

To learn more about funding from other agencies, visit StudentAid.gov/types. Many states also offer assistance for graduate or professional school students. Find a state grant contact at information at ww.ed.gov/sgt. Statistically, schools often provide almost as much aid as the federal government does. Contact the school’s financial aid office and faculty members in your field of study to learn more.

Information is courtesy of the Department of Education via studentaid.ed.gov