Federal-Application-For-Student-Aid

Ten Ways To Pay For College Right Now

Sometimes, the hardest part is simply knowing where to begin. Here are some tips:

1) Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, even if you don’t think you’ll qualify.

2) Apply for national grants. Options include Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants and National SMART Grants.

3) Apply for local scholarships. Civic organizations and religious institutions often have meaningful amounts of aid to dole out.

4) Getting into more than one school translates to a higher likelihood of receiving a big financial aid package.

5) Bargain! Even schools that only provide need-based aid sometimes come up with drastically different offers.

6)  AmeriCorps, Peace Corp, National Health Services Corps and ROTC programs offer college money in exchange for a service commitment.

7) Look abroad. At Scotland’s St. Andrews, U.S. students pay only $21,650.

8) Stay home. Starting out at a low-cost community college and transferring to a four-year college for the final two years will wipe away a hefty chunk of room and board costs, as well as some tuition.

9)  The American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit are two excellent options.

10)  Don’t forget to consult your local expert – guidance counselors are often aware of options you may not have considered; best of all, their help is free.

Read more.

College WordBank!

There are a lot of words that may seem new and weird throughout college applications, so here is a list of words that I defined in order to help you glide through the application process!

The Basics: Treat Yo Self! (and know the facts!)


1. Undergraduate: An undergraduate student is someone who is obtaining an undergraduate education or degree, such as a Bachelor’s degree.

2. Private University: A Private University is a college that is privately funded. They tend to be smaller than public universities as well.

3. Public University: A Public University is a college that is publicly funded, specifically through the national government. They tend to be larger than private universities.

4. Safety School: When applying to colleges, a safety school is a college where the stats of a typical student admitted is lower than your stats, which indicates that it may be easier for you to get in (since you have higher stats than the average).

5. Target School: A target school is a college where the stats of a typical student admitted is similar to your stats, which indicates that you are the same level as other applicants.

6. Reach School: A reach school is a college where the stats of a typical student admitted is higher than your stats, indicating that it is a more competitive college.

7. College Confidential: A website full of threads and information about college admissions. Although some of the pages found on College Confidential are helpful, there are some things found on this site that may discourage you for no apparent reason, such as “Chance Me” threads. Therefore, I advise you to steer clear of College Confidential and, by all means, do not let it get to your head!

8. “Chance Me’s”: “Chance Me” are threads found online where people write their stats and ask for others to see if they can get accepted to a specific college. I advise you NOT to trust these things, as people online do not know your chances of getting into a specific school.

9. Common App: Also known as the Common Application, the Common App is an application used for undergraduate admissions to a multitude of colleges. A majority of colleges accept the Common App, but I suggest looking in on the ones you want to apply to in order to know for sure.

10. Universal College Application: Similar to the Common App, the Universal College Application is also a site used by many people to send their college applications.

11. SAT II’s: Also known as SAT Subject Tests, the SAT II’s are exams that are taken in specific subject areas, such as Biology, Math I/II, and US History. Many colleges do not require SAT Subject Tests. However, it is important to check and see if some colleges require you to take an SAT Subject Test, or if it is optional. Although it may be optional for the college, it is still your decision if you would like to take this exam or not for admission purposes.

12. Transcript: A report of all the grades you have received in each class that you have taken during high school. Colleges require an official transcript to be sent to the admissions office.

13. Recommendation Letter: A letter that details why you are an excellent fit in said college. These letters usually come from teachers, faculty, coaches, mentors, etc. Recommendation letters should NOT be written by a family member.

14. Personal Statement: A Personal Statement is basically a college essay. Many colleges require you to write at least one, while others require more than one essay.

15. Need Blind Admissions: Need-Blind Admissions is when colleges will decide on your admissions decision without looking at your financial information. To clarify, this means that the college will decide on your admissions decision solely on your application and not on your financial information.

16. Waitlisted: Waitlisted is sort of the middle ground for colleges. When you are waitlisted, it does not mean that you are accepted or rejected. Instead, it means that you are put on a “waiting list” and, if the colleges enrollment numbers from their accepted students are lower than expected, they will accept more people from the waitlist.  

17. Deferred: Deferred is when a college pushes your application to the next filing period. This means that you have not been accepted or rejected yet. Instead, the college has pushed your application in order to review it again and make a final decision. A deferral only happens if you have applied Early Action or Early Decision.

18. Legacy (Applicant): A legacy applicant is someone who is applying to a college that a family member has went to, usually their parents.


Types of Applications (it’s “ED” as one, two, three! Get it!?)


1. ED/Early Decision: A type of application filing period where you are able to apply early, but it is binding. This means that if you are accepted to said college under Early Decision, you are required to go there upon acceptance. Usually, the application deadline is in November and admission decisions are in Mid-December. Something to note about this is that you can apply to only one school with an “Early Decision” (since it is binding), but you can apply to other schools with a different filing period, such as Early Action and Regular Decision.

2. EA/Early Action: A type of application filing period where you are able to apply early, but it is not binding. This means that you are applying earlier than the normal application period and you will NOT be required to go to said college upon acceptance. Similar to ED, Early Action’s deadline is around November, but the admissions decision’s date varies. Unlike the Early Decision, you can apply to as many Early Action’s as you want (unless Single Choice Early Action, more on that below)

3. Single Choice/Restrictive Early Action: This is a type of application filing period where you are only allowed to apply to one Early Action school. However, this means that Single Choice/Restrictive Early Action is still non-binding (not required to go upon acceptance), but you can only apply to one school under Early Action. Similar to ED, you are able to apply to colleges under other types of filing periods, such as Regular Decision.

4. RD/Regular Decision: This is the normal time when applications are due. Regular Decision is the time when most people apply to colleges. The applications are usually due in January and results typically come out in March (although, it may vary depending on the college). Regular Decisions are non-binding and you can apply to as many as you want.

5. Rolling Admissions: This is a type of application filing period when you apply to a college and the college admissions office reviews them as they receive the applications. Unlike ED/EA/RD, Rolling Admissions does not have a set date where you can go and look for your college admissions decision. Typically, the college will give you a time frame in which they will give you your admission decision, which is possibly around 2-8 weeks depending on the college. Something to note is that a lot of colleges with Rolling Admissions may not have a distinct deadline for the application, but they will have a “priority deadline” where, if you submit your application before that date, then they will get back to you sooner. Overall, the earlier you submit your application for Rolling Admissions, the quicker you will know your decision.

6. Open Admission: This is a type of application filing where colleges accept all students, as long as they have completed high school or have a GED.


Financial Aid: Dolla Dolla Bills Y'All!


1. Grant: A grant is money that you receive in your financial aid packet that you will NOT have to pay back.

2. Loan: A loan is money that you receive in your financial aid packet and, if you accept, will have to pay back.

3. Scholarships: A scholarship is money earned due to certain achievements, such as academic, athletic, etc. Similar to a grant, it is money given to you that you do not need to pay back. However, for a scholarship, it may be awarded by the college or awarded separately by applying for one.

4. FAFSA: Also known as the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid”, the FAFSA is a website that most colleges will advise you to use in order to receive financial aid from colleges. The FAFSA application will ask for information on your household’s tax forms in order to determine how much grant and loan money you may receive. The FAFSA application opens on January 1st of every year, but deadlines for completing the application varies for every college. Something to note is that you will need to apply for Financial Aid every year in order to receive aid while you are in college.

5. CSS Profile: Also known as the “College Scholarship Service Profile”, the CSS Profile is found on the College Board website where you apply in order to receive more financial aid. Many colleges require the CSS Profile (and sometimes early on), so I advise you to see if it is required.

6. Expected Family Contribution (EFC): This is a number found on your FAFSA that provides an estimate of the amount of money your family will be expected to pay for your education. To note, this estimate is the amount of money you will be expected to pay after financial aid is accounted for.

7. Institutional Grant: An institutional grant is money given by the college that you do not have to pay back. This is different compared to the federal grant, since the federal grant is provided by the government instead of the college itself.

8. Merit-Based Grants: These are grants that are made due to academic achievement.

9. Need-Based Grants: These grants are given to students due to their level of income.

10. Federal Pell Grant: This grant is money that the federal government gives you that you will NOT pay back.

11. Institutional Loans: An institutional loan is money given by the college that you have to pay back. This is different than the federal loans, since the federal loans are provided by the government instead of the college itself.

12. Direct Subsidized Loan: A loan is money that you receive in your financial aid packet and, if you accept, will have to pay back to the college. The Direct Subsidized Loan is a federal loan that pays the loan’s interest while you are in college. However, once your undergraduate education is completed, you will be required to start paying the Direct Subsidized Loan (Note: this loan allows a six month grace period before you starting paying).

13. Direct Unsubsidized Loan: A loan is money that you receive in your financial aid packet and, if you accept, will have to pay back to the college. The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a federal loan that does not pay the loan’s interest while you are in college. This means that, as you continue through college, you are responsible for paying the loan’s interest. However, if you decide you don’t want to pay the loan’s interest while in college, then the interest will be added to the principal (or the original loan’s amount).

14. Perkins Loan: The Perkins Loan is given to students depending on their school, as some schools do not participate in the Perkins Loan. Similar to all loans, it is money borrowed now that must be paid back later. However, unlike the other loans stated here, this loan is a college issued loan instead of a federal loan, meaning that the money is paid back to the college not the government.

15. (Parent) PLUS Loan: A PLUS Loan is a loan taken out on the parents name for an undergraduate student. This means that parents with undergraduate students may use this money for college expenses. PLUS Loans are to be paid back to the federal government.

16. Work Study Program: The Work Study Program is one in which a student may hold a job on campus while earning their degree/education. You can apply for the Work Study Program through the FAFSA application. The money you earn from this job can be used on anything, from tuition to food, etc.


You’re In College! Now what… (Everything you need to know while in college)


1. Major: A specific area that an undergraduate student focuses on during college. The student must follow and complete the courses stated in their specified major in order to receive their degree.  

2. Minor: Although it is not required, some undergraduate students choose a minor in order to have a secondary focus. If you choose to minor, you do not receive another degree. Instead, minoring in something during college is solely for your own personal interest and to expand your knowledge.

3. Double Major: When you double major in something it means that you are following two specified areas. Double Majors receive two degrees for the areas in which they studied.

4. Undeclared: To be undeclared in college is to not choose a major/degree. Many people go into college undeclared, while some are even undeclared up until their second year of college. However, depending on your college, there may be a specific time or deadline to declare a major, since you will eventually be required to have one in order to obtain a degree.

5. Placement Test: A placement test is a preliminary test in order to see what level you are in specific subjects. These are normally taken when you have selected a college to attend (as an entering college freshman) and must register for classes. Also, something to note, all colleges do not have placement tests.

6. Bursar Office: The Bursar Office is the branch of the college that takes care of payments and billing statements for the student.

7. Financial Aid Office: The Financial Aid Office is the branch of the college that takes care of the financial aid aspect for the student, such as determining grant money.

8. Registrar: The Registrar Office is where they handle student records and scheduling for the college.

9. Commuting/Commuter: A commuter is a student who travels to college from where they reside. This is a longer distance than the typical five minutes off campus.

10. Transfer Student: A transfer student is someone who is changing from one college to another. Most people who change colleges decide once they know that their credits will transfer to the next college.

beautifulintroversion  asked:

I am a junior and I want to apply for scholarships but I can't find any through my research, any suggestions ?

Apply for every scholarship you can.

After you narrow down your school options, talk to an academic adviser to ask about the specific scholarships they have available.Check out our blog post: Tips to find and apply for college scholarships.

  • Use websites like Fastweb  and BigFuture to help you find scholarships based on your academic profile including your GPA, extra curricular activities, intended major, demographics, etc.
  • This website is the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship search tool.
  • Watch out for scams. (You should never have to pay to apply for a scholarship. You should never release private bank or social security info.)

If you aren’t already receiving grants, they can help a lot. Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Grants are essentially free money from the government. You don’t have to pay them back unless you drop out or fail your courses.

studeebean  asked:

🎵Do you have any tips for entering senior year in high school? (Congrats on 500!!!! Mwah ur the best) 💖

ahh thank you so much!! you’re pretty awesome too, dee. ^_^

tips for incoming seniors:

  • keep up your grades, and continue being involved in your school and your community. it’s important to be well-rounded!
  • think about what you want as your career. what are your interests? what are your strengths? what would you like to do in the future?
  • if you haven’t already, start thinking about which colleges/universities you would like to attend. have a few options in mind, including schools that you feel you would definitely get into, schools that you might have a chance of getting into, and, of course, your dream schools. do you want to go to school near home? or do you want to go to school somewhere farther away? public school or private school? big school with lots of people, or small school with fewer people? don’t be afraid to be a little ambitious! take some time to do your research, and visit the different campuses to get a feel for what the environment is like, if possible. 
  • the moment college applications become available, start working on them right away! don’t wait until the last minute to complete them, because i can almost guarantee that you will be stressed out about them. writing your personal statement(s) may seem daunting at first, so you can ease yourself into the college app process by filling out the basic information (your name, email, address, high school grades, etc.). then, you can begin working on your essay(s). 
  • make a list of due dates for everything related to college and college apps. keep this list nearby you so that you don’t forget!
  • prepare and register for any standardized tests that you still need to take (or that you would like to retake), such as the ACT and/or the SAT. 
  • if you feel that you’re capable, consider enrolling in AP/IB/advanced classes. you may be eligible to earn college credits by doing so.
  • develop a financial aid plan, if you need to. do you think you’ll be needing loans while you’re in college? if so…
  • apply for FAFSA (free application for federal student aid), or whatever form of financial aid is available where you live. even if you feel like you won’t qualify for financial aid, you should still complete the application anyway because you’ll never know what could happen to your financial situation in the future. 
  • start looking for people who can give you references, as well as people who may be able to write letters of recommendation for you. usually, you need at least 3 people. networking is important!
  • SCHOLARSHIPS! APPLY FOR THEM! WINNING FREE MONEY IS GREAT! THEY’LL HELP YOU A LOT WHEN IT COMES TO PAYING FOR YOUR COLLEGE TUITION LATER ON! ^_^

that’s about it! i hope this helps! if anyone else would like to add onto this list, please feel free to do so! 

compliment: your icon is so cute, and i love how simple and minimal your desktop theme is! i also really like the header on your mobile theme, and your original content is absolutely beautiful!! :)

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anonymous asked:

How the HELL am i gonna pay for college

Relax. Most students are not paying for college out of pocket. Here’s how to get the funds:

  1. Grants: Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Grants are essentially free money from the government. You don’t have to pay them back unless you drop out or fail your courses.
  2. Scholarships: Apply for every scholarship you can. After you narrow down your school options, talk to an academic adviser to ask about the specific scholarships they have available. Check out our blog: Tips to find and apply for college scholarships. 
  3. Community/Junior College: There is nothing wrong with getting your basics done at a community college and then transferring to a four year university. Community college is a lot less expensive. A benefit of  community colleges, it that they have smaller student to faculty ratios, which gives you more time with your professors.
  4. Loans: This is where college students can get in trouble. Only take out loans that you NEED. It is so easy to check accept on loans without thinking of the consequences. The best way to deal with loans is to use them as a last resort. If your grants only cover your tuition, a loan might be necessary for your textbooks (but don’t splurge on Macbooks & new clothes.This isn’t free money.)  Generally, repayment starts six months after you graduate (that includes the monthly interest percentage). Read our blogs: 5 Tips to avoid crushing student debt , and Student loans are not a luxury.
  5. Installment Plans: Most schools have installment plans, where you make a payment at the beginning of the semester & one mid-semester.This makes it a little easier if you are working to pay for your schooling. Talk to your financial aid office when you choose your school to assess if this is the best route for you.
  6. Start Saving: If you are not receiving grants/scholarships & you don’t want to take out loans, working & saving up is your best option. You don’t have to start college as soon as you graduate. If taking a year off to save up money keeps you debt free in the future, why not? Working through college is how most students get by. Here is a helpful blog: 3 Tips for working during college.
6. Two Phones

Summary: In which Namjoon and you talk about becoming drug dealers… to pay for college.
TW: mention of drugs (well..)

a/n:Its been a bit of a minute since I’ve written any sort of drabble or anything, so here we goOOOooOOoo. Gettin my feet wet a lil. /// This is based on an actual conversation I’ve had with my friends bc fafsa sucks bootyhole. enjoy.

*efc= expected family contribution aka how much money fafsa expects you to pay for college*

*FAFSA = free application for federal student aid aka free money/loans from the government for post-secondary schooling*

Keep reading

procrastinationmode  asked:

How do I find money for college?

Great question!

Here is a good, comprehensive overview on the general landscape for Finding Money For College. Here are additional articles, one that suggests attending schools that have no tuition, and another that includes tips for planning ahead. However, tailor the ideas to what works best for you as an individual (how you learn, how much you are willing to sacrifice, and what you place the most value in). There is a lot to think about, but the more you know now, the more prepared you are for the future! Be open to a flexible plan, that is adaptable to various situations, so you have leeway.

Finding Money for College starts from saving now (or making money now!), then you have scholarship opportunities to apply for before and during College, this is also reflected in which school you select, how you spend your time at school (which may also increase the opportunities available to you after school), to what you are doing after school! 

Scholarships & Financial Aid

There are scholarships that you can apply for before college, as early as your freshman year in high school, as well as scholarships you can apply for throughout college! Learn how to Apply for a Scholarship here, and here (also review the first article at the very top).

You may have to Write an Essay when you apply:

1. How to Write a Letter Requesting Scholarship Money.

2. How to Write an Application Essay for a Scholarship.

3. How to Make a Personal Statement for Scholarships.

Or Request a Letter of Recommendation (make an impression on your teachers now!).

Tip: If offered scholarship money from a school directly, see if the school is willing to re-negotiate for additional funding. Here is how you can Write a Statement to Financial Aid or Write a Letter to Financial Aid.

Student Loans sound scary, but are a lot simpler when understood:

1. Refer to this article for Getting a Student Loanmake sure you fill out your FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) ASAP! You may qualify for Pell Grants (money for education you don’t have to pay back!), so be sure to apply for your FASFA every year.

2. Learn the Difference between a Subsidized and an Unsubsidized Loan.

3. Alternative student loans are often more expensive and require higher credit scores. Take advantage of all the federal loan programs that are available to you before looking for alternative student loans.

4. If you’re interested, you can learn How to Pay Student Loans now (you can lower, extend, or stall payments - but try not to skip or avoid them!).

5. Learn about Compounding Interest (to avoid accumulating large debt over time with both Student Loans and Credit Cards).

6. It may even be possible to Get Your Student Loans Forgiven!

During College

1. Keep Track: Budget Your College Tuition and Loans in an Excel Sheet. This can help anticipate costs and keep costs down! Learn how to Budget Your Money in general.

2. While in College, consider Buying Cheap Textbooks - as they are expensive and the costs do add up! Then sell them immediately when the semester or quarter is over - while they still retain value, since new editions are released all the time!

3. Learn how to Make Money in College here, and here (also review the first article at the very top). Here are also ways to Make MoneyMake Money FastMake Money Fast Without a JobMake Money Online (such as Blogging and Earning Money on Youtube).

4. Save Money Living in Your Apartment as a College Student.

Consider the big picture!

When selecting schools and considering your time at school, here are some sample questions to ask yourself:

1. What kind of learner are you? (Do you need to focus entirely on school, or are you able to work and go to school? Do you much prefer smaller class sizes or can you handle larger class sizes? This affects whether or not you should consider working while going to school, and also helps you consider whether or not a school with a smaller teacher to student ratio may be better suited for you.)

2. What school is a best fit for the field you want to go into? (What are the requirements for that industry? Does that study even require a 4-year college / degree? Which schools specialize in your area? Would you prefer a school with more flexibility, in case you decide to switch majors?)

3. If you choose to go to a Community College first to save money, do you have the discipline to get the grades to transfer, should you choose to? Do the Community College courses all transfer? Does that Community College have an agreement with neighboring State Colleges for transfer students? Does this impact the program you want to go into?

4. If the school is out-of-state, have you considered out-of-state taxes? Private schools are more expensive, but they may also offer more opportunities for helping you fund for college - what are they?

5. Are you willing to work while you are in school? If so, what kind of work? Will it be a job to pay bills, or will it be an internship to build your resume earlier on to help secure the ideal position following college? Is it possible to find both? If you are determined, here’s How to Balance Work and School.

6. How will you spend summers? Working or Interning? Taking additional courses? Are you willing to take courses at a community college during summer, or online courses, to pass additional courses at a lower cost? Are there courses you can test out of?

7. Are you planning to attend graduate school immediately after college? If so, how does this affect your undergraduate goals?

Here are some easy steps to take when Choosing a College.

Consider the cost versus the benefit in every situation. Don’t forget opportunity costs in this evaluation (opportunities you forgo in selecting another option). Then strategically place yourself for your own definition of success! There are struggles involved in any and every situation, so consider what you are trying to achieve through school as a starting point, then assign values and order the importance of varying benefits.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, College is a time to learn about yourself, new perspectives and ways of thinking, and discover a deeper understanding of your various interests! There is no right or wrong answer, and even when looking back, there are experiences gained that would not have occurred otherwise! Besides, “success” is defined differently for everyone. Review your options with a mentor or two (or three!), and make the decision that you feel is best for you. Then do your best and have fun!

Hope that helps! :)

  • Will: What video games do you like?
  • Nico: I like that one racing game, FAFSA or whatever
  • Will: You mean Forza???
  • Nico: Yeah. What was I saying???
  • Will: FAFSA. Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • Nico: Oh, I guess I like that too then

anonymous asked:

My parents refuse to fill out my FAFSA form. Does this mean I can't get financial help from it?? I'm freaking out about affording college and I feel like I should just give up on going and just work instead. Is college needed to survive? What jobs can I get without it?? Sorry for so many questions, I just have nobody to ask.

Check out these resources:

Want to help make an upcoming episode of How to Adult?

Hey, guys! So we’ve been doing this for a while now and we are proud of the content we create, but even better than what we have to share is what YOU have to share. Every week in the comments we see other new and experienced adults helping other adults. And this week we want to try something new: having all of YOU contribute to the actual content of the video! Not everyone reads the comments, and therefore may be missing a bit of the story. So here’s your chance to help us and your fellow awesome viewers out. Below you’ll find the script for an upcoming video, “How Student Loans Work,” written by myself and Alan Lastufka. There are always jokes and stuff improvised, but it’s more or less what we currently envision the final script will be. 

We’d both love to hear your thoughts, and more importantly, the things you wish others knew about student loans before taking them on. Anything that isn’t clear? Anything we can expand on or change? Let us know and we’ll put your name in the video description as Official Adult Consultants! Thanks so much, y’all!

“HOW STUDENT LOANS WORK”

We’ve all heard how student debt is piling up and there’s no end in sight and everything’s gonna explode probably. Many careers still require some higher education, and while we’ve made a video all about ways to make that education cheaper, for many people, unless Uncle Money-Butt passes away, student loans are gonna be a necessity. So how do student loans work, and how can you make them work better for you?

Part One: The FAFSA

AKA Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Before you start looking at loans, you need to fill one of these babies out, either online or on paper, which apparently is still a thing.

In addition to being used for federal financial aid like loans and grants, the FAFSA is also used by state and school funded programs, including some scholarships. If you’re in high school, you’ll want to do this ASAP after January 1st of your senior year. If you’re not in high school, you should still do it ASAP after the New Year.

Why? Well, many factors determine your eligibility for financial aid. But most financial aid is given out on a first come, first served basis, so the earlier you submit your FAFSA, the better your chances of receiving the maximum amount available to you. Alas, it isn’t a one-time thing, either: You need to submit a new form every year you are applying for aid, as your finances or your family’s finances, may change.

To actually fill it out your FAFSA, you’ll need some documents. There are a lot of them, so right now they’re hovering around my face. Also, don’t leave any space blank, if a certain section does not apply to you, write N/A or zero.

Part Two: Types of Loans

After submitting your FAFSA, a number of different loan options will be available. These include:

1. Stafford Loans – These are offered directly to you, the student, from the US Department of Education. They an be used to pay for higher education at a degree-granting institution, trade, career, technical school, or for community college.

Stafford loans will either be subsidized or unsubsidized, based on your financial need. Subsidized loans mean you don’t have to pay any interest on the loan while you’re in school at least half-time. If your loan is unsubsidized, you begin accruing interest on the first day you receive your funding.

2. PLUS Loans – AKA “Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students.” These loans are offered to the parents of students by the US Department of Education to help fund their child’s education. PLUS loans are limited to the actual educational expenses minus any other financial aid received by the student.

3. Perkins Loans – Perkins loans are available for undergraduate or graduate students. These loans are financed by your school, but are guaranteed by the federal government. Perkins loans are based on financial need and have caps of $27,500 for undergraduate students, and $60,000 for graduate students.

Part Three: Repayment

Hey, check out that fancy piece o’ paper in your hands! Huzzah! Now let’s pay the loans back! Here are your options!

  • - Original terms - You can repay based on your loan’s original terms. This is typically a 10 year repayment plan. This is the most common method.
  • - Income-based repayment - You can enroll in an income-based repayment plan. This is the second most common repayment plan. The terms of your original loan are then restructured to fit into your budget based on your current level of income.
  • - Deferment - If you cannot afford your student loan payment, in some cases you can defer making your student loan payments. Deferment doesn’t get rid of your student loan debt, it simply puts off when your repayment plan begins. It’s usually only granted to current students, citizens in the military, or if you’re unemployed or are earning less than the minimum wage. Unsubsidized loans will continue to accrue interest during deferment, however, so it’s a good idea to make any payments that you’re able to.
  • - Consolidation Loans – If you’re now out of school and find your current repayment plan difficult to manage, you can always consolidate your loans. Consolidating will take multiple loans and simplify them into a single new loan. This can make repayment simpler and can extend your repayment terms up to 30 years, which will lower your monthly payments, but will greatly increase the amount of interest you pay over the years.

Part Four: A Note for Parents

According to Forbes, more than half of all student loans are now delinquent or in deferral. These loans can be for staggering amounts. If you choose to help your child with college, saving early is. The IRS wants to help you save for your child’s education, so they established 529 Savings Plans, which is kind of like a Roth IRA for this saving for your bebes’ future. Not all of you will have parents who can afford to help with school, but I want everyone to know this option exists to help.

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“Compared to a high school diploma, just getting a degree from a two-year school, going to a community college and getting an associate’s degree could earn you more than $300,000 over the course of your lifetime. And a four-year degree earns you a million dollars more than if you just had a high school degree. Think about that. A million dollars—that’s real money. So one of the things that we’re trying to do is to make it easier for you to access free money for college—to figure out how you can pay for your college without having a mountain of debt. And the key thing…is to fill out your FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid…What the FAFSA does is it puts you in the running for scholarships, grants, loans, work-study jobs, all to help you pay for college. And we’ve made it simpler than ever. And it’s available right now at FAFSA.gov.” —President Obama speaking today on ensuring every student has the opportunity to realize their potential.

First Lady Michelle Obama takes a selfie with Baltimore student Lawrence Lawson’s phone following a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) workshop at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., Feb. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

There is big news today for prospective college students and their parents. It comes from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who is in Iowa with President Obama for his annual Back to School Bus Tour.

“Today, we’re lending a hand to millions of high school students who want to go to college and who’ve worked hard,” Duncan said. “We’re announcing an easier, earlier FAFSA.”

That’s the Free Application For Federal Student Aid. With more than 100 questions, it’s a gatekeeper for students hoping to get help paying for college.

“It’s really a win-win for everybody,” says Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “Ultimately, this is gonna mean less work for [students] and less work for schools.”

Obama Makes College Aid Application Earlier And Easier

Credit: LA Johnson/NPR