The federal Student aid is a US Government funded program that offers thousands of students aspiring to go to college or pursue career schools the adequate amount of fund necessary to pay for their college. A part of the US Department of Education these programs offer more than $150 Billion in federal grant each year to students all across America. More than 15 million students take advantage of these programs and pursue their dreams of having a college degree or finishing career schools.
This website, www.fafsa.ed.gov imparts information to students and their families about the availability of federal student grants under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, along with the eligibility criterion and the process of applying for the same. The same information available on the website is also available with the Financial Aid office of the college where you’re studying. There are many other charitable and public foundations which also offer students the necessary information to understand the available programs and his/her eligibility for the same.
There are many different types of loans and grants available for the average American student. Grants denotes the financial aids that financial aids that do not come with a repayment clause. However in the event you withdraw from the school and you owe a refund, then the amount has to be returned back. The second type of financial aid is loans. This has a repayment clause. The borrower has to repay the same along with interest after completion of schooling. Work-study is the third type of financial aid in which a work program is offered to you and you can earn money in order to repay for your college expenses.
All these loans and grants are applicable to students who fulfill the following criteria:
The student has to be a citizen of USA and or a non-citizen who has a valid Social Security Number. You will also need to have High School Diploma or a Certificate of General Education Development, or must have completed home schooling or have passed a test which will determine your “ability to benefit”. These loans and grants are awarded subject to that you’re making satisfactory academic progress post the awarding. It is also required if you’re a male and within the ages of 18 and 25 that you must register for selective service. If you’re a member of the US military services and currently not on active duty, then also you need to register.
There is a myth that getting great grades in college is almost an impossibility. That is not true. What it takes is planning, preparations and a lot of hard work. Here are a few tips to get started –
- Choose what you enjoy – First thing is to select a course that you’re going to enjoy studying. It is one thing trying to become someone and a completely different thing to actually enjoy trying to do that. A lot of times students have taken courses that they have selected on an impulse, only to find out later in the semester that they are not enjoying it at all.
- Self inspire – colleges unlike schools are not going to inspire you to study and keep up. You will need to do that on your own and stay up-to-date for good grades. Good grades are imperative for a better career after college. There are no helpful school teachers or parents who are going to keep reminding you that you need to study. This means you don’t have the direct inspiration that you normally get at high schools to make you study.
- Plan – nothing is as important as planning your college days. Right from day 1 of the freshman year, it is important to have a plan in place as to how you’re going to study and keep up. If you have opted for a work-study option you will have to understand and some what master the art of time management. You will need time to attend classes, for the work you have opted and also time for self study; not to mention the time for your own self. For a lot of students, college is more fun than studying. This can be catastrophic if persisted for long and is bound to affect your overall grades. Their needs to be a balance between the two so that college becomes a memorable experience for your life than a wasted opportunity. Planning also does not mean how many classes you can afford to miss and still get good grades. Attending classes is important as you have done a considerable amount of hard work just to be here for that sole purpose.
- Taking notes – this is critical to ensure you can get down the explanations and anything specific that the professor shares in class. There are no hard and fast styles of note taking that you need to adhere to. Do it the way you’re comfortable.
Getting good grades should be the goal of every student in college especially the ones that receive Pell grants from www.fafsa.ed.gov.
There are three types of financial assistance programs that a student can opt for if he cannot meet the expenses of college out of his family contribution. These are financial grants, loans and work-pay. Loans are probably the third best option in case you’re unable to find a grant for which you can be eligible. If you find that you’re ineligible for grants and there are no work-pay options available as well, loans are the last recourse. However unlike grants, where you don’t have to repay the amount of money that is paid to your college and for your college expenses, loans have to be repaid back and with interest. As such think carefully when opting for loans.
There are two major types of loans available to students. Federal loans and private loans. Federal loans are funded by the Federal Government and through the Department of Education. They are usually with fixed interest rates and offer flexible repayment options. Many offer income linked repayment options as well. Private loans are funded by private organizations, colleges, banks and credit unions. They are generally with flexible interest rates and some may even ask you to start a repayment even when you’re still in college. Regardless of their availability, Federal loans are a better option in most of the cases.
However, even in the case of Federal loans, there are many options and programs. Start by looking for Direct subsidized loans. These loans are suitable for students where they don’t have the financial means to pay for the interest. In this case the Federal Government via the Department of Education (www.fafsa.ed.gov) pays the interest under specific conditions. These loans are available to undergraduate students and the amount that you can borrow cannot be more than your Financial Need. This is usually determined by the college you have applied to.
Direct Unsubsidized loans are on the other hand available to both undergraduate and graduate students and usually it is not required for the student to show any financial need in order to be eligible for these loans. However the school will still assess your overall cost of attendance and thus the eligible amount of loan. The main difference between a Direct Subsidized loan and a Direct Unsubsidized loan is that the interest payment has to be borne by you at all times in the later case. In the case of non-payment of interest, the same gets added back to the principal amount and increases your overall loan liability.