Financial Aid for College Students
As we all know, college education is a very expensive affair in the United States, this particular fact is enough to mess with many students’ dream of making it to their favorite college. Not everyone is adequately financially equipped to meet with the extremely high monetary requirements a college education demands, this is a major reason why students are not able to pursue the careers of their choice and at times fail to even make one.
Thanks to the various student financial aid programs which have now become very popular in the U.S, students are now offered with an opportunity of studying in their dream college by taking advantage of the help of student loans.
The student financial aid, if opted by a college student, enables them to pay for their educational expenses including tuition fees, room and boarding expenses, expenses incurring from the purchase of books and other supplies. A financial aid award is extended by various colleges which is also termed as a scholarship. Besides scholarships, a financial aid package for a student also comprises of grants and student loans.
Types of Financial Aid for College Students
The U.S government and the respective state governments provide 2 types of aids to the students; merit based aid and need based aid besides grants and loans. Merit based scholarship and grants awarded by universities and colleges for an outstanding score achievement in the SAT or the ACT. Besides academic brilliance, merit based scholarships also consider special talent in a student, his/her leadership qualities and other personality traits. Merit Scholarships are at times extended to students without considering their financial position. Scholarships do not required to be repaid till all the requirements are being met with.
Need based financial aid is solely dependent upon the financial need of the student. FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is mostly used for determining the eligibility of the student to avail such need based financial aid.
Types of student financial aid is also classified on the basis of the provider. They are of 3 types, Federal financial aid, state financial aid and school supplied aids. The most popular form of financial aid is the one extended by the government and hence the name, Federal aid. The government provides financial aid of about $109.7 billion annually for college students. A federal financial aid is usually made available through private banks or lending institutions like Stafford Loan, the Pell Grant Program and the Federal Perkins Loan Program.
How to Secure Federal Student Financial Aid
To secure federal financial aid, it is mandatory for the student to fill up the FAFSA form , the FAFSA form acts as an information provider to various parties who will extend the aid to you including the government, potential lenders and your college/university. The common form will also help these institutions to ascertain the amount of financial assistance will be required by you for completing your education in college.
Besides the federal financial aid, monetary assistance is also provided by private lending institutions in the form of grants, loans and scholarships. Private financial aid extending in the form of scholarships does not need to be paid back
After private institutions, schools are next in line which provide financial aid to the students in the form of scholarships, work-study programs and loans. Usually, a specific GPA is required by the student to be eligible to avail for student financial aid.
Obtaining a student loan these days is not a very difficult task. Lenders are coming across as considerably flexible and less rigid to their borrowers nowadays. Also, as being a prudent student in need you should apply for each and every lender, be it a university, college or other institutions, providing free money. Grants and scholarships are the free monetary aids for students.
Federal Student Aid Options Available
Another option is the Parent Plus loan available for students. These attractive loans which are brimming with benefits are sponsored federally for parents of the students as well as undergraduates themselves.
Students in dire need of financial aid can also check up with Stafford loans and see if they’re eligible for such federal loans. Federal loans such as the Stafford loans are offered to the students at a very low and affordable interest rate. Besides the attractive rate of interest on these loans, students also enjoy the benefits of delayed repayment. A major advantage surrounding these loans is that the credit standing of a student does not mean a great deal to them as long as you’ve been proved eligible by their official criteria.
Students come across a lot of suitable and attractive loans, but they need to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions associate with the loans and then only sign for the loan. It is always better that the student is well informed about the contract. To benefit from the loans, a student must also continuously be aware of the risks and benefits involved with signing up for a loan. Students should remember that loans are provided to them for the sake of their education and not for their leisure, and therefore students should be sensible enough to use the money only for educational purposes.
Repayment of student loans is also a very important, which if met with failure will lead to some kind of penalty being imposed upon the student. A student should very carefully opt for a repayment option which could either be fixed or variable. Fixed repayment options require the borrower to pay a fixed monthly amount whereas a variable option depends on the income and various other factors. A student should opt for the most feasible and flexible repayment method.