In the United States, student financial aid is funding given to students in colleges and universities.
The fund is usually to cover the cost of attendance, also known as the student budget.
These include room and board, transportation, personal expenses, tuition and fees.
The amount a student gets depends on their financial need. This is the variation between attendance costs and EFC (expected family contribution).
EFC means the evaluation of a student’s ability to pay, based on their family possessions and income.
Financial aid is usually offered by academic institutions, state and private foundations.
Qualifying students get it in forms of educational loans, work-study, grants and scholarships.
To apply for federal aid, a student must first submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is a form filled yearly by university and college students in the United States to determine their eligibility for financial aid.
Categories of Financial Aid
These are loans taken by students or their parents for purposes of paying for educational expenses.
They are far much different from grants and scholarships. They have to be repaid together with the interest they attract.
Also, loan options include federal parent loans, private loans, consolidation loans and federal student loans.
Federal parent loans
These are federally funded loans taken by parents for purposes of paying for students’ educational costs.
A parent is allowed to have a loan of up to the full cost of attendance, without including another financial aid that the student may be receiving.
Parents are usually responsible for repayment of the loans.
Private Student Loans
Private loans on the other hand are awarded by private financial institutions. Their interest rates are higher and they have few deferment choices.
Federal student loan programs
These loans attract low interest rates. No collateral or credit checks are required.
The student is accountable for repayments, for the loans are given straight to them.
Some federal student loan programs reflect on students’ financial needs, while others do not.
The loans provide students with extended repayment terms, together with various deferment plans. This undoubtedly makes it easy for students to choose payment methods that are based on their financial situations.
Grants can come from educational institutions, government departments, private and public trusts.
Students get grants based on academic merits and their financial needs.
The procedure of application is usually set by the organization offering financial aid, and depends on information from FAFSA.
Moreover, grants are given to students based on financial need, while scholarships are often based on merit.
Direct subsidized Loans
Amount borrowed here depends on the academic institution, and does not go beyond one’s financial need. A student is not required to repay the loans, as much as they are still studying.
They only start repaying six months after studies.
Most students sought after direct subsidized loans, for there are few requirements associated with the loans.
Direct unsubsidized Loans
Graduate and undergraduate students are all eligible to apply for direct unsubsidized loans.
These loans do not require students to express their financial need.
Based on the cost of attendance, the academic institution determines the amount a student borrows to help them adjust for any other financial aid they may be receiving.
This is also a form of financial aid. The program gives students opportunities to get campus jobs.
Their flexibility accommodates students’ schedules. This means that unlike part-time jobs that are off-campus, students’ study calendars are not likely to be interfered with.
To conclude, scholarships are usually given based on one’s performance and other things such as religion.
They also include academic merit and excellent performance in extracurricular activities such as sports.
They come from private institutions, academic institutions and state. Students who benefit from the awards are not expected to repay.
Several scholarship search engines, such as Scholarship Monkey, have helped many students get financial aid. Different scholarships and grants are available for students to apply.
You can search and apply for one you qualify for now.
Besides that, you may also want to check Dr. David Whiston Scholarship Program if you are looking for financial support associated with oral health. The program offers two $5,000 grants.
It is open for dental students, graduate students and locals who are enrolled in a school of dentistry. Dentists who are below 40 years of age are also eligible.
There are also chances that you may qualify for $2,000 “No Essay” Scholarship. Here, no essay is required.
All college and high school students are eligible to apply for this financial aid.
Winners are selected every month. This means that you can apply once every month.
To sum up, financial support is available for all students. Some are availed to students based on merits, others are awarded based on financial need.
Check your eligibility today and apply!