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Apply for Student Loans

The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is how current and future college students apply for student loans. By filling out this form, you will be matched with loan programs that you qualify for.

When you complete the application for financial aid, you will be matched with programs that you qualify for including federal student loans, parent loans, and grants.

For more information about the application process, see Financial Aid.

Additional Resources

Compare student loans – this website allows parents and students to sort options by lowest rates, first payment due, the total amount of loan, etc.

Federal Student Loan Limits

Perkins Loans

PLUS Loans for Parents

Federal Pell Grant

Pell Grants are awarded based upon financial need, as calculated by the federal aid program. The pell grant application is part of the FAFSA. By completing the FAFSA you will be applying for grants, loans and other programs all with one easy application.

The Pell Grant is the most common type of grant for college students awarded. Pell grants are awarded to students studying for their first bachelors and are not available for graduate students.

Pell grants are awarded based upon financial need. The Expected Family Contribution, your cost of attendance, whether you’re a full-time or part-time student, and whether you attend school for a full academic year or less will affect your eligibility and the amount of the grant you receive. Only one Pell grant is awarded per year per student.

The pell grants for the 2005-2006 school year (July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006) will range from $400 to $4,050 per student.

Other Types Of Grants :
» Supplemental Education Grant
» State Based Grants 

Increase in College Enrollment

Despite the rising costs of tuition in recent years, the percent of students enrolling in degree-granting institutions continues to increase.  The new “knowledge economy” is creating higher-paid jobs, but most require education beyond high school.  A higher salary may incentivize the 61 million individuals who are older than 25 with only high school diplomas to benefit by obtaining a postsecondary education.

Total postsecondary enrollment is expected to grow 15 percent between 2009 and 2019.  Although enrollment growth of nontraditional students has eclipsed that of traditional students, the imbalance is expected to shift.  Projected growth between 2009 and 2019 shows traditional student enrollment growing at 16 percent while enrollment for students older than 25 grows at 13 percent.

Growth in Online Learning

Proprietary and two-year institutions play an increasingly important role in addressing some of our country’s most pressing challenges – global workforce competition and an increased demand for a highly skilled labor force, to name a few.  The growth in enrollments at proprietary and two-year institutions has soared in recent years. This dramatic increase has produced its own unique set of challenges, including higher student loan default rates.

Distance learning is creating a new trend in the way college students attend classes and earn their degrees because of the flexibility, convenience, and growing acceptance of online courses.  Besides the advantages for students, institutions use distance learning to address State budget cuts and space shortages.  During 2006-2007, there were more than 11,200 college-level programs designed to be completed exclusively online.  Sixty-six percent of these programs offered degrees and 34 percent offered certificates.  more recent data shows that in 2009, nearly 30 percent of students took at least one online course, nearly three times the percentage in 2002.

Role of Government in College Education

The trends already discussed and the projected increase of student loan borrowers and aid applications will increase FSA’s responsibilities and workload; however, the workforce is not expected to increase at the same pace (As shown above).  For example, by the end of 2012, the number of borrowers serviced by FSA is expected to increase 246 percent from the FY 2006 baseline.  The number of aid applications is expected to grow by approximately 80 percent.  During FY 2012, FSA’s budget and onboard staff are projected to increase by approximately 53 percent and 23 percent respectively.  The increase in FSA’s budget is the result of transitions to 100 percent Direct Loans.  Even though there are increased costs for this program each year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the shift to direct lending would save $67 billion over 10 years.

Student Loan & Financial Aid Information for College Students

One of the most challenging parts of entering college is understanding the financial aid process. This site is here to help you get a handle on Financial Aid information.

Here you will find information about student loan services, a glossary to help you understand all those new loan related terms, and some helpful hints to help you get through the financial aid system.

Introduction to Financial Aid

College Scholarships

Get the most scholarship money for college that you can. Apply for these scholarships with deadlines coming up soon.

College Scholarship Information

Top 5 Places to Find a College Scholarship

College Seniors and Graduates!

It’s time to start paying back those loans. Find out more about the process of loan repayment and consolidation options.

Paying back Student Loans

Supplemental Education Grants

Students with exceptional financial need may qualify for additional grants. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program (FSEOG) is an additional grant opportunity.

The FSEOG program is federally funded, but funds are awarded by individual colleges and universities. This means that the college is responsible for awarding the grants to students that show unusual financial need.

Unlike Pell Grants, the amount of FSEOG funds you receive depends not only on your financial need but also on the amount of other aid you get and the availability of funds at your school.

FSEOGs are administered by the financial aid office at each school participating in the program. A FAFSA form is still required to be considered, and it is best to complete the application as soon as possible. Once you have received the results from the FAFSA application, you will need to contact your school’s financial aid office to specifically apply for the FSEOG.

Paying Back Student Loans

After four (plus) years of workers toiling over books, reports, and tests, you’ve finally made it. You don the cap and gown and walk across the stage. What a great accomplishment!

Now what?

First on the list is getting a job of course. If you haven’t already lined up a job, internship or graduate school now is the time.
But you’re also probably wondering about those student loans you’ve taken out over the years. How do you pay them back? What’s the processing for paying on loans? What if you don’t have a job yet and can’t pay? These are all questions that a recent graduate asks.
First, the good news — there is a 6 month grace period on all loans which have not been consolidated yet. That means that you have six months from the day of graduation to when your first student loan payment is due. The idea is that this will give you time to get your feet on the ground, a job, and ability to pay.

During this time you will receive paper work from your lenders regarding your loan. They will let you know about your repayment options. Your options for repayment consist of how the loans will be consolidated into one loan, and what your monthly payment will be.

Find out more about Student Loan Consolidation

8 Ways to Earn Money for College

There are many ways that students can make money in college. From the usual part time job to becoming your own boss, creative students can find many ways to earn money for college expenses.

There are many types of part time jobs that are available to students. Earning money for college through part time work will help students pay for tuition and living expenses. Many college students work from 5-30 hours per week. So that you have plenty of time for studying it’s best to limit part time work to around 10-20 hours a week for full-time students.

Many part time jobs offer flexible schedules and some businesses near a college, or in a “college town” are sensitive to the needs of students. When applying and interviewing for a job, ask about the flexibility of schedules and hours. Some businesses will allow employees to pick up extra shifts during winter break, spring break or summer.

Here are 8 Ways to Make Money in College:

1. Retail – Working retail is one of the most common ways that students make money in college. Hit the mall or shopping center and look for a retail job that fits your interests. Clothing boutiques, department store, book shops, and CD stores are just a few of the retail places that will hire part time employees.

2. Cafes – Small cafes, bagel shops, and coffee shops are good places for college students to work and earn money for college.

3. Restaurants – While waiting tables might be a good option for you, there are other positions like cook and hostess.

4. Call Centers – Call centers are not just for telemarketing. There may be a call center near your college that handles customer service for insurance, hotels, car rental, telephone companies or many other customer service functions.

5. On Campus Employment – It takes a lot of people to run a university! There are positions in the campus bookstore, food court, and residence halls. Look for positions in the department or school of your major. Very often there will be administrative jobs in those departments that could help you get experience in your job field. Ask your professors if they know of any openings in the department.

Other office jobs on campus include financial aid office, registrar’s office, and computer labs. Check your college’s website often to see what positions are available. You may also qualify for work-study through the financial aid office.

6. Tutoring – Especially for upperclassmen and those highly skilled in math or English, tutors are in demand to assist other students. Sometimes a counseling or tutoring center is available on campus and provides tutoring services. Students interested in working as tutors should visit that office to see if positions are available.

Otherwise, seek out students on your own by posting a notice about your service on campus bulletin boards and the college newspaper. Tutoring individual students is a flexible way to earn money in college because you can set your own hours.

7. Mystery Shopping – While you won’t get rich with mystery shopping, 1-5 assignments a month can provide extra money. Mystery shoppers are paid to evaluate restaurants, retail stores, and other businesses.

Every college student loves a free meal! A good online resource for more information about mystery shopping is Volition.com

8. Earn Money Online – There are legitimate ways for students to earn money for college online.

One way to earn money online is to set up a website about your favorite topic and earn money by placing ads on the site with AdSense.

Another way to make money online with your own website is by referring visitors to other online merchants, otherwise known as affiliate marketing.

There are many ways that college students can earn money for college including the opportunities listed here. For students who are determined to get a college education, there are income opportunities to be found.

Top 10 Weird Scholarships

Apart from the usual list of useful grants and scholarships, there is a complete array of several weird and unusual scholarships that the students can apply for. The best part about these scholarships is that you don’t actually need to be academically very outstanding. You just need to possess some characteristic features or hobbies. Some of the weirdest scholarship types include:

  1. Left Handed Scholarship: With so many left-handed students, this scholarship offered by the Juanita College in Pennsylvania, is one of the most common and sought after scholarships.
  2. National Ice Cream Retailers Scholarships: If you work at some ice cream shop, you may be eligible for this scholarship. If you are lucky enough, your employer might just recommend you, and you may grab one of the 17 $1000 scholarships.
  3. Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship: Another one of most unusual scholarships, this can be of use to students who really have a talent with skateboards.
  4. Unusual Last Name Scholarship: This unusual scholarship presented by the Loyola University in Chicago is given to students with the most unusual last names, the best one so far is the name “Zolp”.
  5. Asthma Scholarship: It sounds very unusual that even an allergy can win you a good scholarship amount. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology is primarily responsible for sponsoring this unique scholarship.
  6. Stuck at Prom Duck Brand Duct Tape Scholarship Contest: This is an unusual contest held each year in spring, where students create formal wear out of duct-tape to compete for the top scholarship prize of $2,500. The second and third prize is a scholarship of $1,000 and $500 respectively.
  7. Online College Poker Championship Tournament: If you are a champion at the game of poker, this may be your golden opportunity to win a handsome amount as scholarship prize.
  8. Vegetarian Scholarship: This scholarship sponsored by the Vegetarian Resource Group is only for people with vegetarian eating habits.
  9. Tall Clubs International Student Scholarship: The tall boys and girls now have an opportunity to grab some good scholarships. This scholarship basically considers only the height of a student i.e. 5’10” for female students and 6’2” for male students.
  10.  Excellence in Predicting the Future Award: This is a bit different from what the name suggests in that, the contest actually is for students interested in economics. Participants are required to ‘buy and sell’ future predictions just as one would buy stocks.