Paying for Tuition
By Mayra, age 19, California
Sweet Designs Staff Intern
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form that students can fill out on a yearly academic basis. The amount of aid granted is determined based on several different factors, such as independent or dependent, employed or unemployed, if you live on campus or off campus, etc. The form asks a lot of different questions regarding your parents' taxes and your own if you work. In order to file for FAFSA you need:
* To be a citizen of the United States or an eligible non-citizen
* To have a legal Social Security Number
* To have a High School Diploma or General Educational Development (GED)
* To be enrolled or planning to attend a participating institution, and you must be working towards a degree.
* To not have a drug conviction while receiving Financial Aid
* To demonstrate financial need
* To not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal student loan
Once you meet the qualifications, you can fill out a paper application or an online version of it through www.fafsa.ed.gov.
The program has different deadlines depending on your state, so checking out the website is the best way to go if you do not happen to know your specific due date.
Many students find themselves not being able to receive financial aid because their parents make enough money to pay for their expenses. Therefore they turn to loans or work study programs. Loans are money borrowed from banks with a low interest rate which is deferred while the student is in school. Many times, loans allow you to continue school and pay a monthly payment after graduation. Some loans even lower your interest if you show them your certificate of degree. You can obtain loans through either FAFSA or various banks. There are two types of loans: Federal Loans and Private Loans.
Federal Loans come in three main types: Federal Stafford Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.
Federal Stafford Loans are awarded based on your financial need. They are controlled by the government and can be obtained through the government itself or through a bank or credit union.
Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans are loans determined by your need, and have a low interest rate. What makes these loans so special is that the government pays the interest while you are in school. Interest can sound like a scary word, but it's simply money paid for the use of money!
Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are loans which are long term, non-need based, and also have a low interest rate. Unlike subsidized loans, the interest on these loans is the responsibility of the borrower. This means that you have to pay the interest. Usually students who do not qualify for financial aid and need extra money for expenses turn to this type of loan for assistance.
Private Loans. If you don't qualify for any type of federal loan you can always consider a private loan. A private loan can be obtained from a private lender such as a bank. Their interest rate varies depending on what institution you choose. Always check for their terms and conditions before signing any documents.
Federal Work Study. Maybe you don't want to take on the responsibility of a loan or can't afford to commit to it just yet. There is also another great alternative called Federal Work Study. Work study is a great way to pay for school. You can apply for work study when you file for FAFSA for your school. If you are eligible and demonstrate financial need, you will see your federal work study (FWS) included in your financial aid award.
So exactly how does FWS work? FWS is a program that allows you to work directly on or off campus within an area related to your choice of major. Depending on your FWS award, your school will decide how many hours you will work in order to pay for school. Usually you will get paid minimum wage, but that can change taking into consideration the kind of work you do. Every school has a different system, so going to your financial aid department can help you get your questions answered.
Whatever way you decide to pay for school, I hope that money never becomes a reason for you to stop chasing your dreams. There are many options for everyone out there; it's only a matter of finding an option suitable for you!