Student loans have to be paid back. You can get a loan from the federal government or from private lenders like banks and credit unions. Consider federal loans first. Generally speaking, the federal loan program provides better terms and more flexibility for repayment.
Your college determines the amount you can borrow.
Subsidized Stafford Loan
(Direct Subsidized Loans)
The Subsidized Stafford Loan is a need-based loan. With this loan, the federal government makes interest payments on your loan at certain times, such as while you are in school or if you are in deferment. (A deferment allows you to temporarily stop making payments on your federal student loans.)
Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
(Direct Unsubsidized Loans)
The Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is not need-based. With an unsubsidized Stafford loan, you are responsible for interest payments, even while you are in college. You can either make interest payments while you're in college or postpone them. If you postpone interest payments, interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).
Parent Plus Loans
Parent Plus loans are not need-based and they require interest payments. These are for parents of a dependent student to help with the cost of a student's education.
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in applying for federal and state financial aid programs. For instructions, visit the 7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA video tutorial.
Financial Aid Offices
Once a college admits you and receives your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, it will offer you a financial aid package. This package will include different types of financial aid for the year. The financial aid office can help you and your family with the application process and answer any questions.
Right on the Money
Get tips for financing college, investing and handling credit cards with Right on the Money: Financial Know-How for Financial Freedom.
Last Modified: 2/15/18 3:05 PM