With soaring increases in tuition, many students and parents are finding themselves overwhelmed by the cost of an education. For many, federal aid is an essential part of funding a postsecondary education. Here are some basics students and parents should know:
Scholarships and grants are a great option for helping to fund college, if you can land one. They are like a gift to the student, as these funds do not need to be repaid. Work study programs are another nonloan option. These programs allow students to work part time while enrolled to earn money to offset tuition.
There are three types of federal loans students can apply for:
PERKINS loans are for students with exceptional financial need and are made to the student by the school itself. The limit is currently $5,500 for each undergraduate year.
DIRECT STAFFORD loans offered directly by the U.S Department of Education for four-year universities, community college, trade, career, or technical schools. These may be subsidized (no interest is charged while in school) or unsubsidized (interest accumulates while in school).
DIRECT PLUS FOR PARENTS loans allow eligible parents to take out loans to help fund the cost of their dependents’ education.
Federal loan deadlines are June 30, 2013; state and college deadlines vary. For more info on Federal Aid visit www.studentloans.gov.