Federal Financial Aid
The federal government requires students to complete the U.S. Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a basic application for its financial aid programs. You can get one from a high school or college for the appropriate year (usually available in November), or you can visit studentaid.ed.gov (opens new window) for general student aid information and the online FAFSA. It will be processed free of charge.
Your local high school counselor can help determine the programs you may be eligible for and how to apply.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
These grants are provided to a limited number of undergraduate students with financial need. Preference is given to students with exceptional financial need. FSEOGs are awarded by colleges.
Federal Pell Grant
Financial assistance awarded by the federal government on the basis of need. The Student Aid Report (SAR) informs students of their Pell Grant eligibility. The grant may be used toward tuition, room and board, books, or other educational costs and requires no repayment.
Federal Perkins Loan
Loans funded by the federal government and awarded by the institution. The loans feature low interest rates and are repayable over an extended period of time.
William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program
Provides both Stafford Loans for Students and PLUS Loans for parents. Eligible students and parents borrow directly from the federal government at participating schools. Direct Loans also include Direct Consolidation Loans. Repayment of these loans is made to the U.S. Department of Education.
Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program
Provides both Stafford Loans for students and PLUS Loans for parents through participating private lenders. FFEL also provides for Federal Consolidation Loans. Repayment of these loans is made to the bank or other private lender that made the loan.
Subsidized FFEL or Direct Stafford Loans—are awarded on the basis of financial need. Recipients will not be charged interest until they begin repayment.
Unsubsidized FFEL or Direct Stafford Loans—are not awarded on the basis of need. Interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.
PLUS Loans (for parents)—provide low interest loans to credit-approved parents of eligible undergraduate students. Repayment typically must begin 60 days after loan is fully disbursed.
Consolidation Loans—allow students or parents the opportunity to combine several types of federal loans into a single loan with one monthly payment.
A government-supported financial aid program coordinated through financial aid offices in which an eligible student (based on need) may work part-time while attending class, generally in career-related jobs.
For more information about federal financial aid programs and your rights and responsibilities under these programs, read The Student Guide: Financial Aid from the U.S. Department of Education (opens new window). You can also request your free paper copy by contacting the U.S. Department of Education (opens new window) at 1-800-4-FED-AID, or writing to:
- U.S. Department of Education
- Federal Student Aid Information Center
- P.O. Box 84
- Washington, DC 20044-0084
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