2 – Federal Student Aid at a Glance

WHAT is Federal Student Financial Aid (SFA)?

SFA is assistance for students enrolled at least half time in participating schools. It helps to cover school expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Most aid is need-based, and the three types of aid are grants, loans, and work-study.

GRANTS – financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Generally, grants are for undergraduate students and the grant amount is based on need, school cost, and enrollment status.

Pell Grants for the 2005-2006 school year ranged from $400 to $4,050. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants ranged from $100 to $4,000.

LOANS – borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Both undergraduate and graduate students may borrow money. Parents may also borrow to pay education expenses for dependent undergraduate students. Maximum loan amounts increase with each year of completed study.

Federal Stafford Loans are made to students through two loan programs.

Direct Loan Program: participating schools allow their students to borrow directly from the federal government.

Federal Family Education Loan Program: private lenders provide the funds.

Perkins Loans are offered by some schools to provide the neediest students with low-interest loans. Federal Plus Loans are made to qualifying parents of dependent undergraduate students.

WORK-STUDY – money for education expenses paid by the school for on-campus or community-based work.

Note: Not all schools participate in all SFA programs. Ask the school financial aid administrator which programs are available.


WHO gets Student Financial Aid?

Some of the requirements to receive aid from the federal SFA programs are that you must

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen of the United States with a valid Social Security Number
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate or pass an approved “ability to benefit” test
  • Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate
  • Register (or have registered) for Selective Service, if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25.


HOW do you get Student Financial Aid?

  1. Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA lists deadlines for federal and state aid. Check deadlines! Schools and states may have their own deadlines for aid.
  2. Review your Student Aid Report (SAR). One to four weeks after you submit your FAFSA, we will send you a SAR. The report confirms the information reported on your application and will tell you your Expected Family Contribution (an amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education, although this amount may not exactly match the amount you and your family end up contributing).
  3. Contact the school(s) you may attend. Talk with the financial aid administrator at the schools you’re interested in attending. They will review your SAR and prepare a letter outlining the amount of aid (from all sources) that their school will offer you.

You may get a FAFSA from:

  • a high school guidance office
  • a college financial aid office
  • a local public library
  • The Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
  • Online at www.fafsa.ed.gov


Federal Studen Aid at a Glance

Title IV Program Type of Aid Other Specific Facts Grant/Loan Limits Disbursement
Federal Pell Grant Grant: does not have to be repaid Available to undergraduates only Up to $4050 for 2005-2006 School acts as the Department of Education’s (ED) agent
Campus-Based Aid Programs
FSEOG Grant: does not have to be repaid Not all schools participate in all Campus-BasedPrograms For undergraduates only Up to $4,000 School disburses funds to students
Federal Work-Study Money is earned,does not have to be repaid Not all schools participate in all Campus-Based Programs No annual maximum Schools disburses earned funds to students
Federal Perkins Loan Loan: must be repaid Not all schools participate $4,000 for undergraduates School disburses funds
Direct Loan and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Programs
Subsidized Loan Loan: must be repaid Subsidized: ED pays interest while the student is in school and during grace and deferment periods $2,625 to $18,500, depending on grade level Direct Loans: the federal government provides the funds to schools to disburse to students FFEL: private lender provides the funds to schools to disburse to students
Unsubsidized Loans Loan: must be repaid Unsubsidized: the borrower is responsible for interest during the life of the loan $2,625 to $18,500, depending on grade level Same as above
PLUS Loan Loan: must be repaid Available to parents of dependent undergraduate students Cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received Same of above