Federal Student Financial Aid is an integral part of the education department of the US. This agency provides financial aid to students and plays an important role in America’s post-secondary education community. The FSFA has a comprehensive set of programs to help the students who are willing to pursue their studies.
The objective of the FSFA is to make available the financial assistance of the federal body. The assistance comes in the form of loans, grants, and work-study programs for students who wish to pursue post-secondary education.
Their headquarters are based in Washington D.C. and they have provided approximately $78 million as aid to 10 million students in the year 2005-06.
The Application Form
FAFSA, the free application form, is required to be filled out by the student who is interested in applying for the aid program.
This is the form, which is used by all government and private aid programs, at national, regional and international levels. Filling out the FAFSA form is the first step in the process of enrollment for the aid programs.
FAFSA also has awareness programs online and offline to make the parents as well as the students aware of such grants that would help them to progress in life. They also look into the matter that all students who are in need of the aid and all the collaborating institutions work in fairness towards the objective.
Types of Financial Aids
The financial aid consists of the expenses that a student would require to develop a career. It provides full financial support to the student, including the tuition fees, lodging, food, books, transportation and supplies. Major portion of the federal aid is need-based.
Financial aids are available in three forms.
Grants- grants are a need-based aid and are offered to students at the undergraduate level. In this type of aid one does not worry about repaying the money, as he/she does not need to repay the aid. This aid is provided considering the need of the student, enrolment status, and cost of attendance. The grant announced during the period of 2006-08 was announced to be between $400-$4050. Another grant, known as the Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity, will range between $100-$4000. Two special grants, the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant and the Academic Competitiveness Grant are also offered. The present grant period has already begun.
Loans- aids can also come in the form of loans, which are repayable aids. The money received in the form of a loan has to be repaid by the loan seeker. This is applicable for both the graduate and undergraduate students. Loans are available for students who are dependent on their parents. In such a case the parents can borrow the money. The loan amount depends on the number of years a student has spent in the educational institution. At present, even graduate and professional students can borrow under the special Plus Loan Program. Within this structure the two kinds of loans are available.
William D. Ford federal Direct Loan Program- students and parents both are eligible to draw the loan directly from the federal government, and are available at their schools. The direct Loans can be obtained in three different forms. They are, Direct Stafford Loan, Direct Plus Loans and Federal Consolidation Loans.
Federal Family Education Loan Program- these loans are government-aided loans provided by private money-lenders. They come in three forms namely, the Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Plus Loans and Federal Consolidation Loans.The Federal Perkins Loan is offered to students who are in dire need of the loan. The school that is participating in the FSA provides the loan.
The work-study program allows a student to study as well as earn his living simultaneously. These aids help the needy students who wish to pursue their studies and aspire to establish themselves in their favorite sphere.