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Financial aid is available from a variety of sources and in a variety of forms. You can acquire financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, fellowships, assistantships, and loans depending on the type of educational opportunities you are pursuing. We have a separate page dedicated to scholarships, and one for fellowships.

Typically the first stop for financial aid is the institution you are attending. Most schools and programs have money available to students in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and part-time employment. Many schools offer work-study programs that lower your tuition in return for working for the school in some capacity. The financial aid staff at your institution should be able to tell you about all the options that are available to help you lower the costs of attending that school.

After your institution, one of the major forms of financial aid is federal aid in the form of loans. Students complete what is known as the FAFSA form, which the government uses to determine eligibility for financial aid. Students then can be eligible for Stafford or Perkins loans or their parents may be eligible for federal PLUS loans (for parents of dependent students pursuing an undergraduate degree).

Federal loans are excellent because they have lower interest rates than consumer loans and more flexible repayment terms that typically begin only after the student’s schooling is complete. Federal loans are either subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are those that government pays the interest on while you are in school and during grace periods or deferment periods. Subsidized loans require that you demonstrate financial need. Any student, regardless of financial need, is eligible for unsubsidized loans on which the interest accrues while you are still in school.

However, there are limits to how much you can borrow in federal loans so some students need to consider private loans in order to bridge the gap between their financial aid packages and the cost of their educational programs. There are various banks that specialize in educational lending such as Sallie Mae or non-profit organizations such as Access Group . Almost all private loans will require a credit check so be sure to have a clean record.

You can explore FinAid for more information on your financial aid options. There is money out there to complete your education. You just need to put in the necessary effort to find it!

*This article is taken from http://www.studentprospector.com/


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