The federal government offers a number of awards. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen admitted to a degree or certificate program at a qualified college or university. For most awards, you must be enrolled at least half time (some aid is limited to full-time students), and your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application must be received by the U.S. Department of Education by March 10.
Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
The PLUS program provides an opportunity for parents of dependent undergraduate students to borrow from their banks or lending institutions. The maximum interest rate for a PLUS loan is 12 percent and repayment begins within 60 days of disbursement of the loan.
Federal Perkins National Direct Student Loans
You may borrow up to $4,000 each academic year for a total of $20,000 if you’re seeking a bachelor’s degree. The interest rate is five percent. These loans are made through your Home Institution, but not all colleges and universities participate in the program. Repayment begins nine months after graduation or when the student drops below half-time status. There are deferment and cancellation options available.
Nursing Student Loans
These loans are available to nursing students. Qualified applicants may borrow a maximum of $2,500 per academic year. The interest rate is five percent. Repayment begins nine months after graduation or when the student drops below half-time status.
Pell Grants are awarded to eligible undergraduates pursuing their first bachelor’s degree. The award is transferable between colleges.
Stafford Student Loans
These loans are low interest loans available to students enrolled at least half time. The interest rate is variable with a cap of 8.25 percent. Interest is paid by the government on federally subsidized (need-based) loans while interest will be charged beginning when the loan is disbursed on unsubsidized (nonneed-based) loans. Repayment begins six months after graduation or when the student drops below half-time status.
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
The FSEOG Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students to promote access to postsecondary education.