Your financial aid package is likely to include funds from the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs. Note that not all colleges participate in all FSA programs. These FSA programs, described below, are administered by Federal Student Aid and provide over $150 billion a year to students attending post secondary schools:
- Federal Pell Grants are available to undergraduate students. Graduate students in a teaching credential program may also qualify. Grants do not have to be repaid.
- Federal Stafford Loans are student loans that must be repaid and are available to both undergraduate and graduate students.
- Stafford loans are provided through the Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, meaning the federal government provides the funds for the Stafford loan.
- First-year undergraduates are eligible for loans up to $5,500. Amounts increase for subsequent years of study, with higher amounts for graduate students. The interest rates may vary based on when the loan is borrowed. There are two types of Stafford loans:
- Subsidized Stafford loan - A loan for which the government pays the interest while you are in school, during grace periods, and during any deferment periods.
- Unsubsidized Stafford loan - A loan for which you are responsible for paying all the interest that accrues at any point in time.
- Federal PLUS Loans are unsubsidized loans made to parents of undergraduate students. If your parents cannot obtain a PLUS loan, you may be eligible to borrow additional Unsubsidized Stafford loan funds. The interest rates may vary based on when the loan is borrowed.
- Graduate and Professional Student PLUS Loan (Grad PLUS). Graduate and professional students are eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan program, effective with loans originated on or after July 1, 2006.
- Campus-Based Programs are financial aid programs administered by participating schools. There are three Campus-Based programs.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are grants available for undergraduates only; awards range from $100-$4,000.
- Federal Work-study provides jobs to undergraduate and graduate students, allowing them to earn money to pay education expenses.
- Perkins Loans are low-interest (5 percent) loans that must be repaid; the maximum annual loan amount is $4,000 for undergraduate students.
For more information about federal student aid, you can explore the Federal Student Aid Web site at