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Financial Aid Programs

Grants and Work-Study

Program Program Details Award Amounts
(subject to change)
Federal Pell GrantGrant: Does not have to be repaid Available almost exclusively to undergraduates Up to $5,645Total amount may not exceed the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)Grant: does not have to be repaid For Undergraduates with exceptional financial need; Federal Pell Grant recipients take priority; funds depend on availability at school. $100 – $4000
Federal Work-StudyMoney Earned while attending school; does not have to be repaid For undergraduate and graduate students; jobs can be on campus or off campus; students are paid at least federal minimum wage; funds depend on availability at school no annual minimum or maximum amounts
Direct Subsidized LoansLoan: must be repaid with interestThe interest rate for new loans made on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014 is 3.86% For undergraduate students; U.S. Department of Education pays interest while borrower is in school and during grace and deferment periods (if you receive a Direct Subsidized Loan that is first disbursed between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period); student just be attending at least half-time and have financial need $3500 – $5,500, depending on grad level
For a total lifetime limit, go to page StudentAid.gov/sub-unsub
Direct Unsubsidized LoansLoan: must be repaid with interestThe interest rate for new loans made on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014 is 3.86% (undergraduates) and 5.41% (graduate or professional students) For undergraduate and graduate students;  borrower is responsible for all interest student must be enrolled at least half-time; financial need is not required $5,500 – $20,500 (less any subsidized amount received for the same period); depending on grade level and dependency statusFor a total lifetime limit, go to page StudentAid.gov/sub-unsub
Direct PLUS LoansLoan: must be repaid with interestThe interest rate for new loans made on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014 is 6.41% For parents of dependent undergraduate students and for graduate or professional students; student must be enrolled at least half-time; financial need is not requiredBorrower is responsible for all interest Maximum amount is cost of attendance minus any other financial aid student receives

  
U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, Customer Experience Office, Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid, Washington, D.C., 2013.


Steps to Federal Student Aid

The following steps will help you keep track of what you need to do when applying for federal student aid.

Get free information and help from a school counselor, the financial aid office at the college or career school you plan to attend, or the U.S. Department of Education at StudentAid.gov or 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Free help is available any time during the application process. You should never have to pay for help.
Collect the documents needed to apply, including income tax returns and W-2 forms (and other records of income). A full list of what you need is at www.fafsa.gov. Tax return not completed at the time you apply? Estimate the tax information, apply; and correct the information later.
For the 2013–14 year, you can complete the FAFSA between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014 (no exceptions to either date!). BUT, apply as soon as possible after Jan. 1 to meet school and state aid deadlines (see note after Step 6). Apply online at FAFSA on the Web (the faster and easier way) by going to www.fafsa.gov. If you don’t already have your PIN to electronically sign your FAFSA, you can get it when you complete the online FAFSA.
Within a few days, the U.S. Department of Education will send you your Student Aid Report (SAR)—the result of your FAFSA—by e-mail with a link to your electronic SAR, or by mail if you completed a paper FAFSA. Review your SAR and, if necessary, make changes or corrections following the instructions in your SAR. Your complete, correct SAR will contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)—the number used to determine your financial need.
The college or career school that you plan to attend might request additional information from you. Be sure to respond by any deadlines, or you might not receive federal student aid.
All applicants: The college or career school will tell you how much aid you can get at that school. Contact the school’s financial aid office if you have any questions about the aid being offered.First-time applicants: Review award letters from schools to compare amounts and types of aid being offered. Decide which school to attend based on a combination of (a) how well the school suits your needs and (b) its affordability after all aid is taken into account.

Student loans, unlike grants and work-study, are borrowed money that must be repaid, with interest, just like car loans and home mortgages. You cannot have these loans canceled because you didn’t like the education you received, didn’t get a job in your field of study, or are having financial difficulty.