Thursday, November 11, 2010

3 Basic Ways of Getting Financial Aid

College students looking for money are most often concerned with financial aid. Financial aid is what the college you are attending awards you. It is calculated by your and your families financial situation. Once this is looked at, the college will tell you what financial aid they will award you.

To get any financial aid, you must fill out a FAFSA.

Grants are like gifts. They never have to be repaid. All college students can apply for a Pell Grant awarded by the federal government. The amount you get varies, up to a maximum of over $5,000. This grant is based on need. Many states, Like California, award their own grants as well. Virtually all state grants as well are awarded on financial need. There are other various grants for certain types of degrees and careers you choose. Your financial aid office will know which ones you can get.

Student Loans
All students going to college will be eligible to apply and get a student loan. Your year in college will dictate how much you can borrow. It varies from freshman to graduate student. This is not based on need. If you are enrolled, mostly at least half time, you will get a student loan. All direct student loans are done through the federal government by first doing the paperwork at your college's financial aid office. They will set it up for you. There are also federal PLUS loans for parents. And the money they can borrow is only the amount you need to pay for school, not a penny more. Again, your financial aid office will have all paperwork. There are other private student loans. But you need good credit and the terms are not as good as the federal direct loan program.

Work-study is a program where your college gives you a job on campus to make up for the money you need to pay for college. The federal government normally subsidizes these jobs. But, they are only awarded on financial need. They are not very high paying and you may find a better job outside of the campus. However, they are on campus and are flexible. The earnings do not count toward your finances that the school looks at when getting more financial aid. The work-study program will not allow you to work for them more than 15 hours a week. This is to not interfere with your study time. This does not keep you from getting a job off campus and working more hours.

There you have the three types of financial aid that are awarded. Notice we did not mention scholarships. Scholarships are not financial aid. College scholarships are awarded by many companies and agencies, including your college. You should definitely look into these as well. Scholarships do not have to be paid back either.

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