Financial Aid And Student Loans
Most students require financial assistance when it comes to paying for higher education. Financial aid and student loans go hand in hand, as these loans are often the first type of financial aid a student applies for. Federal student loans are very common and can make a big difference to students and whether or not they can afford to attend college. One type of loan that most students are eligible for is the Stafford loan. It is not based on credit and the criteria for acceptance is very broad. There are two types of Stafford loans -- subsidized and unsubsidized.
A subsidized Stafford loan does not accrue interest until after the student leaves school. An unsubsidized Stafford loan begins accruing interest right away. Speak with a financial aid advisor if you have questions about the types of Stafford loans, or any other types of financial aid available. The first step to acquiring a federal student loan is the completion of a FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The college may also have its own financial application documents students must complete.
Another type of student loan provided by the government is the Perkins loan, highly based on financial need. Many low-income students are able to get both the Stafford and the Perkins loan to help with educational costs. To help even more, there are grants available such as the Pell grant that do not need to be repaid. And, there is the PLUS loan designed to help parents pay for their children's college after all other loan resources have been exhausted. PLUS loans are not for everyone and have different requirements from other types of student loans like those described above.
A topic that should be discussed when talking about financial aid and student loans is loan consolidation. The U.S. Department of Education allows students to consolidate their federal loans only once, so if you are thinking of doing this make sure the time is right and this is the best course of action. You may want to speak to a school financial advisor before consolidating your loan. There are both advantages and disadvantages to consider. Consolidation can lower your monthly payments by stretching out the length of the loan, but the rates may change. One thing many students like is making only one payment on one loan rather than multiple payments each month.
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