Student loan options can be overwhelming at first glance. But when it comes to federal student loans, there are just a few options.
The first step in getting one of the federal student loans listed below is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. While the FAFSA does determine eligibility for need-based aid, it also acts as an application for student loan options, both for need-based and non-need-based loans. It supplies students who need financial aid with that help as well as provides financing options for those students that would like to borrow with low-interest federal loans but don’t necessarily qualify for need-based aid.
Subsidized Stafford Loan
The subsidized Stafford Loan is available to students who qualify for need as determined by the FAFSA. Students must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen as well as have a high school diploma or GED. Like most federal student loans, interest does not accrue while the student is in school. If students qualify for a subsidized Stafford Loan, it will be stated on their award letter notification along with the amount for which they can borrow.
The Perkins Loan is another federal loan option that is for needy students. Again, students must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen as well as hold a high school diploma or GED. Again, interest does not accrue with the Perkins Loan, and students will find out whether or not they qualify as well as for how much when they receive their award letters from colleges.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
Finally, the unsubsidized Stafford Loan is a little different from the other federal loans. For both the subsidized Stafford and Perkins Loans, students must qualify for need as determined by the FAFSA. However, the unsubsidized Stafford Loan is available to any student, regardless of need. Also, unlike the other federal loans, interest accrues while the student is attending school. Again, if students want to apply for the unsubsidized Stafford Loan, they must complete the FAFSA.
Students can also qualify for a federal student loan consolidation after graduating from college or graduate school.