Federal Education Resources
Financial Aid Information for Students
Applying to college is an important step in any young adult's life. I know that looking for scholarships, grants, and other programs can be overwhelming. So I hope that this guide will help walk you through the process and make things a little easier for you.
Most student aid falls into three categories, (Loans, Scholarships/Grants and Congressional Scholarships).
- LOANS: This is the most common type of federal student aid. Remember that any money borrowed is money you have to pay back.
- SCHOLARSHIPS/GRANTS: Mostly need-based and typically do not need to be repaid. Federal scholarships/grants include:
- CONGRESSIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS: Highly competitive scholarships based on merit and named for members of Congress. Congressional members do not play a role in selecting recipients. These scholarships are available to both need-based and non need-based aid seeking applicants.
Step 1: Plan Ahead
To be successful in anything, developing a plan is key. Here are the first steps you can take:
- Meet with your high school counselors
- The financial aid office at the school you plan to attend
- About Financial Aid
- The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid
- Pay For College: A Practical Guide for Families
- Federal Student Aid (U.S. Department of Education)
Remember: All students have to apply each year for financial aid, so don’t procrastinate, get your application in early and make sure to keep copies of your research, correspondence, and applications to make the process simpler next year.
Step 2: Obtain your student aid
There are a few different types of financial aid for students. Below is a list for you to review.
- Need-based financial aid: This type of financial aid is for students and families whose income is at a certain level. Depending on your household income, this may not be available.
- Non need-based financial aid: This type of aid is for students that have achieved academic or athletic excellence. Also for students involved in different organizations, and ethnic backgrounds. Some corporations may also offer assistance to employees and children.
- Federal Student Aid: Available to all need-based applicants, some loans and competitive scholarships are available for non need-based applicants.
- WORK STUDY: These programs allow students to work and earn money while enrolled in school.
- FINANCIAL AID FOR SPECIFIC GROUPS: Aid is often available t for specific students based on race, ethnicity, disability status, veteran status, and desired study programs.
- PUBLIC SERVICE: Select programs will provide aid in exchange for public service.
- WISCONSIN SPECIFIC SCHOLARSHIPS:
Step 3: Repay your student loans
So you’ve graduated and gotten your degree – Congratulations! Now it is time to repay what you’ve borrowed. Thankfully, the federal government can help you. However, eligibility depends upon the type of loan, when it was made, and whether or not it is in default. Check with your loan officer to see where you stand.
- Loan Consolidation
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Student Debt Repayment Assistant
- Cancellation/Deferment Options (for Teachers)
- National Health Service Corps (For Health Professionals)
- Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (for Law School Graduates)
- Student Loan Repayment and Forgiveness (for Law School Graduates)
- Federal Student Loan Repayment Program (for Federal Employees)
Step 4: Additional Information For Parents
Parents, you can start saving money for college costs long before your child is ready to attend!