Welcome back to Brown Girl Green Money! Thank you for continuously reading and supporting our blog. As you all know the fall 2015 semester is going to start very soon for many college students. So, I decided to write an informational post about financial aid. I graduated from undergrad in 2006 and I wasn’t as informed about financial aid as I should have been. Fortunately, I was able to complete my undergraduate degree with a minimal amount of student loan debt. Ok, so now on to financial aid – here it goes! ☺
A loan is money you borrow and must repay, that is expected to be paid back with interest. Student loans can be issued by both the federal government and private lenders (for example a bank or a credit union). Federal student loans offered by the United States government usually have lower interest rates and more repayment options than loans from a private lender. The federal government offers three types of direct loans through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. The three types of Direct Loans are: Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, and Federal Direct PLUS Loans. During my undergraduate years I used the Federal Direct Subsidized loans and Federal Unsubsidized loans. According to www.estudentloan.com, “Unsubsidized” means that the student borrower is responsible for the interest charged on the loan during the in-school and grace periods. A borrower may choose to pay the interest as it is charged each month or allow it to be added to the outstanding principal. On the other hand, subsidized loans are available only to undergraduate students with a financial need; subsidized loans do not accrue interest while the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis.
Now on to the good stuff: FREE MONEY (also known as grants and scholarships!) Grants are aid awards that do not have to be repaid after graduation. Most grant programs are based upon financial need and may be used to help pay for tuition/fees, room and board, and books. There are numerous federal government grants available to students. A few of the federal government grants include Pell grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants (FSEOG), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grants, and Iraq/ Afghanistan Service grants. Scholarships are awards of financial aid for a student to further their education. There are thousands of scholarships that are available to students. If you are a high school student, please check with your guidance counselor or your college’s financial aid office to see if there are awards available locally or within your school. Also, check out an awesome site called https://www.myscholly.com/ – this site offers an easy way to find scholarships for high school seniors, current undergraduates, and graduate students. I will always advise students to shoot for the free money at all times. Lastly, please be responsible when you are applying for student loans. The loans add up quickly so please keep that in mind throughout your college career.
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