What you need to know for Financial AId12:00 PM
The number one thing you need to know about financial aid is the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA. This is the application that can can be filled out online or through the mail to apply for the Federal Pell Grant, Unsubsized Stafford Loans, and Subsidized Stafford Loans. You can learn the difference about each below.
Note: If filling out online, make sure that the website is www.fafsa.ed.gov
GrantsGrants are basically free money and you do not have to pay these back. The one that most college students know of is the Federal Pell Grant, which is awarded to students when they apply for federal aid and is based on income. By filling out the FAFSA, your school can also match you up with other grants based on your income.
Federal LoansThere are two types of loans you can get through your FAFSA which are the Unsubsidized and subsidized loans. Unsubsidized will charge interest as soon as you take them out. You do not have to pay this loan back until after you graduate or are not enrolled in for six months.
Subsidized loans will not gain interest until after you graduate. You do not have to pay this loan back until six months after you graduate from college or have not enrolled in a university for six months, whichever comes first.
Private LoansThese are loans that you can get through banks or other financial institutions. They have varying interest rates, but are usually higher than federal loans. The pay back date is determined by whomever you receive the loan from. These loans may require you to have a cosigner, and they will also be responsible for your loans if you are not able to pay.
ScholarshipsThere are scholarships for everything these days, from being left handed to knowing how to make prom dresses out of duct tape. Check with your school first to see which scholarships they may offer to incoming freshman and how to apply. Then try other sites such as Fastwebs.com and more to see what scholarships may fit your needs. We even have a list of places you should search for scholarships at this link here.
Keep in mind that . . .
It doesn't hurt to apply
You can apply for the FAFSA without any penalties or obligation to accept any aid. This is a good way to see what you qualify for and could be another source to help pay for college expenses. Most importantly, it's free.
You don't have to accept everything you're offered
Once you fill out the FAFSA, you will be informed of what types of aid you are eligible for, but it is up to you to decide which forms of aid you are willing to accept.