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Student grants and loans

Pell Grants
A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded usually only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree or sometimes students enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program.

The maximum award for the 2003-04 award year (July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004) is $4,050. The maximum can change each award year and depends on program funding. The amount you get, though, will depend not only on your financial need, but also on your costs to attend school, your status as a full-time or part-time student, and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

Your school can apply Pell Grant funds to your school costs, pay you directly, or combine these methods. The school must tell you in writing how much your award will be and how and when you’ll be paid. Schools must disburse funds at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter). See the Student Aid link below.

Student Loans
There are three types of student loans that are available through the federal government: FFEL, Direct, and Perkins Loans.

You can borrow a subsidized FFEL or Direct Loan based upon your remaining need after any federal Pell Grant and aid from other sources are considered and before considering an unsubsidized loan. If you are eligible for a subsidized loan, the government will pay the interest on your loan while you’re in school, for the first six months after you leave school, and when you qualify to have your payments deferred.

Find out more about Stafford Loans and PLUS Loans (parent loans) see the Student Aid link below.

School-based Aid
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), and Federal Perkins Loan programs are called campus-based programs because they’re administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school. Not all schools participate in all three programs.

How much aid you receive from each of these programs depends on your financial need, on the amount of other aid you receive, and on the availability of funds at your college or career school. Unlike the Pell Grant which provides funds to every eligible student, the campus-based programs provide a certain amount of funds for each participating school to administer each year. When the money for a program is gone, no more awards can be made from that program for that year.

FSEOGs are gift-aid for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFCs) will be the first to get FSEOGs, which don’t have to be paid back. You can get between $100 and $4,000 a year, depending on when you apply, your financial need, and the funding at the school you’re attending. FSEOGs are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned bachelor’s or professional degrees.

The Federal Work Study program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient’s course of study. FWS can help you get your foot in the door by allowing you to gain valuable experience in your chosen field before you leave school.

Perkins Loans
A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5%) loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Federal Perkins Loans are made through a school’s financial aid office. Your school is your lender, and the loan is made with government funds. You must repay this loan.

Links
Federal Student Aid
www.studentaid.ed.gov

The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid
www.finaid.org

Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities
www.finaid.org/otheraid/disabled.phtml