Furthering your education beyond high school can benefit you with additional choices that may not otherwise be possible. Such opportunities include further career growth and open doors to better paying positions.
As college costs can be high, financial assistance through Federal Student Aid can assist with expenses including college tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies and transportation. This aid can also be used to help pay for a computer and dependent child care expenses.
These resources may assist you in further exposing yourself to the opportunity to do the things you are most passionate and dedicated about. By choosing to advance your post secondary education, you can expand your possibilities and increase your career choices.
Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, plays a central and essential role in America's postsecondary education community. Our core mission is to ensure that all eligible individuals benefit from federal financial assistance—grants, loans and work-study programs—for education beyond high school.
The Federal Student Aid team is passionately committed to making education beyond high school more attainable for all Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status. By championing access to postsecondary education, we uphold its value as a force for greater inclusion in American society and for the continued vitality of America as a nation.
The programs we administer comprise the nation's largest source of student aid. Every year we provide more than $100 billion in new aid to nearly 14 million postsecondary students and their families. Among our most visible and essential services are the development, distribution, and processing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM), the form used to apply for all federal ,as well as for many state, regional and private student aid programs. Each year approximately 14 million FAFSAs are processed.
The aid from our programs allows students and their families to cover school expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. To receive federal student aid, a student must be enrolled in an eligible program at participating postsecondary institution, whether it be a two- or four-year public or private college or university, career school, or trade school.
There are three basic types of federal student aid: grants, loans, and work-study.
Grants do not have to be repaid. Sometimes they are referred to as gift aid. Generally, grants are for undergraduate students, and the grant amount is based on the student's financial need, as determined by the information reported on the FAFSA, cost of attendance, and enrollment status. There are six federal grants:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
- National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant)
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Our loan programs allow undergraduate and graduate students to borrow money to cover their education expenses. Parents also may borrow to pay education expenses for dependent undergraduate students. Generally, loan amounts depend on the student's year in school, cost of attendance, and the amount of other aid received. Some loans are based on the student's financial need and others are not. There are five federal loans:
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Stafford Loan
- PLUS Loan for Parents
- PLUS Loan for Graduate and Professional Degree Students
- Consolidation Loan
Stafford, PLUS, and Consolidation loans are made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Through this program, students and parents borrow directly from the federal government at participating schools. (Note: Before July 1, 2010, Stafford, PLUS, and Consolidation Loans were also made by private lenders under the Federal Family Education Loan [FFELSM] Program.)
Work-study lets students earn money while enrolled in school to help pay for education expenses.
Note:Not all schools participate in all Federal Student Aid programs. Ask the financial aid administrator at your school about the programs that are available.
Informational Source: U.S. Department of Education – Financial Student Aid http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/aboutus.jsp