Funding Your Degree: Financial Aid Options

Funding Your Degree: Financial Aid Options
You need to fund your tuition from all types of sources, including private and public.

During the application process to get into college, you need to consider your options for paying tuition. If you are not paying for your degree yourself, you should consult with your parents or employer about your education and the costs of your tuition. Parents like to stay informed on your college choices, particularly if you plan on going to a school that is out of state or has higher tuition for a special degree program. Even if you do not have the option of savings or scholarships, you may qualify for financial aid through federal funding. However, you should know the basics of financial aid and how these programs work, including student loans so that you can afford to go to school. Federal programs and loans will pay for online degree programs as well as traditional schools. Your college should give you more information if you contact a financial aid advisor to handle your specific situation. Let's go over some basics and see what you can qualify for.

Appling for Federal Aid

The first thing that you have to do is fill out a FAFSA. You can find this form located at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. From this point, you need to create an application and fill it out entirely. There's some information that you need before you fill out this form, including your tax information, school information, social security number and other personal information. You should talk to a college counselor or advisor before you fill out a FAFSA if you have questions or you are unsure if you will be eligible. You can read more about the FAFSA requirements here. Once you apply, you'll receive a report back that will show if you qualify for certain types of aid. This report will be sent to your college. It's important that you meet the deadlines for FAFSA. Deadlines are noted by state and school year. You can find out your deadline by going here.

Grants

Grant are basically known as free money. This is because you never have to repay any grant money that you receive, whether it's a Pell Grant or FSEOG, if you are receiving federal funds. Other grants may be offered by private organizations or your college. Pell Grants are a common form of aid for low-income students who have a high financial need. If you qualify for Pell Grant, you may also qualify for the FSEOG, which is another grant for low-income students. However, you need to apply for aid much earlier to receive benefits for FSEOG, as this is a campus-based aid program. A TEACH grant is also available if you are thinking of becoming a teacher. However, you must sign a contract that says you will teach at an at-risk school after you graduate. Otherwise, your grant will convert to a loan that you must repay.

Scholarships

Other funding you can find through a scholarship. Many colleges offer scholarships to their students specifically, so you can consult with your college advisor. There are thousands of scholarships available every year, so you should start researching different scholarships before you go to school and look into any state-wide scholarship programs, such as Bright Futures for Florida residents. You can find scholarships for academic excellence or sports. You can also use a scholarship search or go to EducationGrantsForSchool.com. Collegeboard also offers a lot of information about scholarships. You can also sign up for scholarship newsletters to stay up to do date on the latest information about upcoming or recently released scholarships.

Federal Loans

There are several types of federal loans that you may be eligible for. These loans have lower interest rates and alternative repayment plans. You may qualify for a Perkins, Direct Stafford, Direct PLUS, or Direct PLUS for parents. Perkins loans is a low interest loan for both undergraduate and graduate students that have exceptional financial need. The Direct Stafford loan is either a subsidized or unsubsidized loan. The subsidized loan is for students with financial need. Unsubsidized loans are for students who do not need to demonstrate financial need. Your school will determine the amount of your loan and apply it to your school's tuition.

Work-Study Programs

These are part-time jobs that you can work that will pay to your college directly, which then pays you. With federal work study, you are guaranteed a job as an undergraduate or graduate student if you have financial need. You earn money to help pay off your education expenses. The program will focus more on community service work, but you can also find programs that are geared towards your major or degree program. In many cases, you may find that you are only paid at minimum wage, which is required, but other jobs will pay you more.

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