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Financial Aid Resources

College Financial Aid — Paying for College

Paying for college is a daunting task, but if you take the time to conduct a thorough search, you will find that financial aid is readily available in a number of forms from a variety of sources. College financial aid comes in the form of scholarships, loans, grants and work-study programs.

Rest assured you can find money for college. For instance, the U.S. Department of Education provides more than $33 billion each year in financial aid to students attending post-secondary schools.

Your financial aid package is likely to include funds from the federal student aid programs. It is important to note that not all colleges participate in all federal state aid programs. Your high school guidance counselor or the college's financial aid office can provide you with the latest details about the federal programs that are available.

Free Application for Federal Financial Aid

Your first step in the search for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid. The federal government requires seven business days to process your form and send you a Student Aid Report. The Student Aid Report summarizes the data you included on your application. If your application is complete, your Student Aid Report will have an Expected Family Contribution printed in the upper right-hand corner. Schools will use that amount to determine your financial aid award.

Types of Federal Financial Aid:

Federal Pell Grants are available only to undergraduate students only and do not have to be repaid.

Federal Stafford Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students and must be repaid. The interest rate for this loan varies but never exceeds 8.25 percent. If you qualify for a subsidized Stafford Loan, the federal government pays the interest on your loan while you are in school, during grace periods and during any deferment periods.

Federal PLUS Loans are unsubsidized loans made to parents of college students. The interest rate is variable but never exceeds 9 percent.

Campus-Based Programs are administered by participating schools.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are available only to undergraduate students. Awards range from $100 to $4,050.