How to Apply for Federal Student Loan
If you have just been accepted into college, the first thing you will need to do is obtain financing, provided you are not on a “full ride” sports scholarship, or do not have an adequate college fund in place. If you are from a lower income bracket and cannot qualify for private student loans, you may be eligible for government student loans, also called federal student loans. These loans are usually quite easy to obtain. It is important to know a little bit about federal loans and how they work, as well as the process involved in applying for one.
First, let’s take a look at some of the types of federal student loan lenders, and the loans they offer. One of the most popular student loans is the Stafford Loan which was once called the Federal Guaranteed Student Loan Program. In 1965 the loan was named after Robert T. Stafford, a Vermont Republican, due to his work with higher education. The Stafford loan is guaranteed by the US government and as a result the interest rates are typically a lot lower than those attached to private student loans. The terms of eligibility are very strict for this type of loan and the individual applying must meet a certain criteria in order to be approved.
The Perkins loan is another federal student loan that is designed to assist college students whose family falls into an income bracket of less than $25,000 annually. This loan comes with a 5% interest rate and allows the student 10 years to repay the loan, with a 9 month grace period from the time of graduation. One of the most attractive things about the Perkins loan is that the money is not being lent to the parents but to the student directly. This means that the federal student loans debt will not fall on the parents shoulders with this sort of loan, should the student default in some way. Both the Stafford loan and the Perkins Loan offer student loan forgiveness, which basically means that a certain portion of your loan is taken off the loan, meaning it will not have to be repaid.
The process of application for any federal student loan is essentially the same. You might consider working with the financing department at your school to obtain their help in filling out an FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). These applications are also available online and can be filled out and submitted independently. However, many students find the process easier when they apply through their school. Once the approval or denial comes back, you will be notified by your school. If you have received an approval, your school will recommend which of the federal loans you should apply for. Each loan has a slight variation in the information they review, such as income and parent’s income, but all federal loans will have a certain income bracket that a student must fall into, in order to be approved.
Most Federal student loans will offer some sort of assistance should the student ever find they are having trouble replaying the loan, once they have graduated and their grace period has ended. This is one of the aspects that make Federal student aid so practical for students who come from a low income bracket. In addition, it is rare for a student to be denied one of these loans, provided the funding is available and they meet all the criteria.