College can be hard on your wallet and freshman and veteran college students alike often search for a variety of financial aid options.  We understand the need to save what little money is set aside.  Let’s review the basic aid options, and then discuss some that you may not have considered.

Basic Financial Aid

  1. Federal and private loans.  Federal loans are funds that a student borrows from the government, promising to repay them after college.  Stafford loans, Perkins loans and Parent Plus loans fall into this category, which require a completed of the FAFSA application to be eligible.  Private loans are outside of the FAFSA, and are applied for through organizations and your bank.  Citi Bank participates, with a full list of their loans available online.
  2. Federal grants.  In addition to several loans, FAFSA deals with many grants too.  The best known federal grant is probably the Pell grant, which is reserved for students with a decent level of financial need.  Several others are also available.

Aid to Consider

  1. Study Abroad Financial Aid.  A myriad of students take the opportunity to learn in another country.  It is a great experience which allows you to learn your field and embrace a different culture.  This is pricey, however.  Surprisingly, though, a lot of the aid you receive at home is often provided for overseas study.  The Pell grant, SEOG grant, and federal loans often cover alternate study, so be sure to fill out a FAFSA.  Additionally, special scholarships have provided funds for study abroad.  Pell Grant recipients have the opportunity to apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman International scholarship, a federal scholarship.  An obvious incentive to perform well academically, universities and study abroad programs frequently have scholarship opportunities based on GPA.
  2. Community College Financial Aid.  Contrary to popular belief, 4-year college enrollment is not required to receive federal financial aid money.  So long as enrollment status remains at half-time or more (6+ credits), many community college students qualify for a Perkins loan.  Additionally, the government allots a total of $100,000 per year specifically for community college students seeking to obtain the Stafford loan.

Financial aid types are very straight-forward.  However, there are so many things which get overlooked.  This should have provided a better grasp on the financial aid options available in various circumstances.

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