Suppose you have a will to beat the odds and continue with your education if you consider yourself determined and resilient enough for college’s hurdles. Suppose you say “Yes” to school and all that comes with it but count yourself not so fortunate for the financial and all requirements. Then, you might have some light looking in this direction.
There is a chance to achieve your wildest dreams. You can still proceed with your education in the face of challenges and limitations. The Federal Student Aid makes this possible in a variety of ways.
Federal Student Aid is a provision of the U.S. Department of Education that allows students to receive support for their post-secondary education. It is available for those who want to take up vocational studies, a degree or diploma, or a postgraduate degree.
What the Federal Student Aid Covers?
The Federal Student Aid attempts to make adequate provision for all that may be required for an auspicious time at a post-secondary academic endeavour. These provisions include tuition fees, accommodation, logistics, and requirements.
Depending on the seeker’s position, the Federal Student Aid can cover extra costs for a personal computer and other gadgetry as may be required for the person’s successful completion of academic activities.
Why Federal Student Aid?
Federal Student Aid is supported by legislation in the U.S. and is key to the achievement of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
Considering the U.S. landscape,
- About 56% of college students in the U.S. admit to not being able to afford their school fees.
- About 60% of college-age persons who might try to afford the cost run out of money before the end of the academic year.
- About 20% of U.S. undergraduates come from low-income families in 2016 (compared to 12% about two decades earlier). This figure is more than double for nonwhites.
Given the numbers above, it is essential to have backup plans to help the ever-increasing college students if the future of the country is to be secured. Getting the Federal Student Aid is, thus, helpful in many possible ways.
Among its many benefits, the Federal Student Aid gives the following exceptions and advantages:
- The repayment of loans does not begin until after the student has graduated.
- There is no need for a bank or income history.
- The presence or signature of a guarantor or cosignatory is not necessary.
- Loans received in this package come with very low-interest rates.
- The repayment of credits depends on the person’s ability and income.
- Deferment of credits is possible if conditions necessitate such.
- It also offers loan forgiveness.
Federal Student Aid Categories
There are four main categories of Federal Student Aid. They are:
- Grants: These student aids are not repaid. They are given based on the needs of the students. They range from undergraduate students to graduates and those taking teacher programs. There are different subclasses of grants under the Federal Student Aid program. They include the following:
- Federal Pell Grants: This package is available for students from low- and middle-income families. They represent a financially challenged class.
- The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: If some persons are not eligible for the Pell grants and need some educational aid, they may fall into this category. It is selective and only accommodates persons whose parents or sponsors served in Iraq and Afghanistan’s military activities following September 11, 2001.
- The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant: This is exclusively for undergraduates and graduates who want to serve as teachers to low-income students in specialized fields. The grant requires that its beneficiaries become teachers in the specified areas for a minimum of four academic sessions after completing their program.
- Loans: Student loans are offered to students or parents of dependent students. They must be paid with some interest (usually after graduation). There are different types of student loans provided under the Federal Student Aid.
They include the following:
Direct Loans: These loans can be gotten directly from the government. They include the Direct Stafford Loans, Direct Consolidation Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans. The loans are secured through schools that are participating in the exercise.
- The Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL), until its dissolution in July 2010, was a means of getting loans. It involved the provision of funds by private individuals under the supervision of the federal government.
- Campus-Based Aid: Financial Aid can also be made available to students in their institutions of learning.
The government supports students’ different categories through their institutional agencies with the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).
- Scholarships: These are given to deserving students. They are not repaid and are often dependent on specific criteria ranging from academic wit to background.
- Federal Work-Study Program: This is a provision for students with financial needs to work and attend school at the same time. It is conveniently created to cover for their pressing needs without unnecessary future commitments.
How to Get Federal Student Aid?
The following are essential in getting Federal Student Aid:
- It would help if you were a U.S. citizenship or an eligible noncitizen.
- Be enrolled or accepted to join in a post-secondary school.
- You must have a high school diploma or a General Education Development certificate.
- In the absence of a diploma or GED certificate, you must pass the ability-to-benefit test set by the school of acceptance.
- You must fulfil all requirements made by your state to benefit from the program.
The following are also required:
- Information on financial assets (and of parents or guardians)
- Your Social Security number (if you are a U.S. citizen) or Alien Registration Number (if you are not a citizen)
- Tax documents.
To apply for the Federal Student Aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it. This process can be done at https://fsaid.ed.gov. It provides an official I.D. for accessing the package. Remember to use only factual information.
The Federal Student Aid has given many students a chance at achieving their dreams. Between the 2010 and 2011 school year alone, the FSA was able to support about 15 million students with about $144 billion in student financial aid. It currently manages about $850 billion in outstanding loans besides grants and scholarships.
The Financial Student Aid continues to accept applications from students from various backgrounds through its vast program.