Are you looking to get federal student loans? That’s great! You will need to use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to get those student loans.
Student loans are a very useful tool to help pay for your education. Getting the right loan and the right amount are very important. Making sure you major in something that will help you pay off those student loans is even more important.
The first step in getting federal student loans is filling out your FAFSA. This can be done online and will only take about an hour. Filling out the FAFSA will also give you other great opportunities to get financial aid for college.
You must fill out the FAFSA every year, as soon as you file your taxes. The FAFSA will help you get access to several types of federal student loans.
The Types Of Loans
There are three main types of student loans:
There are also debt consolidation loans, but that is for another post!
The Stafford loans are great and can be subsidized or unsubsidized. Whenever possible, get the subsidized loan. A subsidized loan’s interest won’t “accrue” until you stop school or graduate (the interest is subsidized until then).
An unsubsidized loan will start accruing interest as soon as you get it.
However, you don’t have to start paying on the loan until 6 months after you graduate or leave school. This is called the “grace period”. It’s enough time for you to find a job and get some income before you start paying on your loan.
The Perkins federal student loans are for those who have exceptional financial needs. These loans have a low interest rate and have a grace period that lasts 9 months instead of 6 months.
The PLUS loans can be used to help graduate and professional degree seeking students finish their education. It can also be used to help parents of students to help pay for school.
For more information, be sure to visit studentaid.ed.gov/.
The Financial Aid Office
The financial aid office at your school is a very valuable resource! If you have any questions about student loans, college student grants, or scholarships, they are the ones to ask!
These people answer financial aid questions every day, all day! They may even have more ideas about other financial aid options available to you! Keep in close touch with them.
They may also have supplemental forms that you need to fill out for your student loans. Be sure to check with them after filling out the FAFSA!
A Few Things To Keep In Mind
Remember that federal student loans are still loans. It is something that you are responsible to pay off when you graduate. Keep this in mind when determining how much to borrow and when to borrow it.
Remember the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans: subsidized doesn’t accrue interest until you’re done with school and unsubsidized do accrue interest from the time you get them.
Remember that you will have a grace period of 6 to 9 months after you graduate or leave school before you begin paying the loans back.
Remember to understand the terms of any student loan before accepting it.
Remember to talk to the financial aid office if you have any questions about anything financial aid related. They are professionals at this stuff!
Last, but certainly not least, you must fill out the FAFSA every year in order to get the same financial aid benefits every year!
This is a guest post by Matt Smith, webmaster of www.college-student-answers.com.