About Financial Aid and Student Resources
Financial aid for students comes in many shapes and sizes, and many different loans, grants, and/or scholarships function as financial student resources in that they help students afford college educations. These student resources are an essential component for financing a college education, and various unique forms of student resources have been introduced at the federal and private levels to help pay for college. Student resources are available for financially needy students to meet their educational costs including tuition, fees, books, and room and board.
Types of Student Resources
- Work-study programs
- Federal student loans
- Private student loans
Grants and scholarships should be the first option students pursue when seeking financial aid, as they are ‘free money’ awards, meaning they do not need to be repaid. Certain federal grants are available for students with demonstrated financial need, including the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Universities and many private organizations offer various scholarships for students from many backgrounds; for example, high academic achievers, athletes, students seeking a certain degree, musicians, artists, actors, etc. Another financial aid option to seek out is a federal work study program. Work study programs provide the students with a part time job to help finance their education through the wages earned.
There are three main federal student loans issued by the Department of Education: Subsidized Stafford loans, Unsubsidized Stafford loans, and Perkins loans. These loans have low interest rates and flexible repayment terms. Students must file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine their eligibility for the various financial aid options.
If students have exhausted all of the student resources above and still find they still need money to pay for school, then private student loans should be considered as a final student resource. Eligibility requirements for private loans vary considerably from federal loans; for example, private student loans are awarded based on the applicant’s credit history, and student borrowers will almost always need to apply with a credit worthy cosigner in order to be approved for the loan, and to reduce the interest rate they receive.
Choosing the Best Student Resource
When selecting a student resource to finance your college expenses, make sure you conduct thorough research on all the options available. It is best to consult your university’s financial aid officer for help or seek professional advice for selecting the most viable form of student resource. If you choose to use a private student loan as a final student resource to pay for college, remember to search, compare, and apply for private student loans using our student loan comparison tool above.
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