Paying for School

Commencing or advancing in a career is often impossible if you do not have necessary post-secondary education. That, however, poses a conundrum for many students: how to pay tuition, housing and transportation expenses.

Fortunately, there are several financial aid options that prospective students may apply for. Federal Student Aid is a primary source for tuition assistance.

To qualify for Federal Student Aid, you must be a US citizen, with a valid Social Security number, who demonstrates a need for assistance. You also need a high school diploma or GED or, alternatively, to pass an assessment test issued by the school. Your academic progress at school is monitored and you must be complete a minimum of 6 credit hours to earn a diploma or certificate.

To apply for Federal Student Aid, you fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is recommended you apply online. If you qualify for Federal Student Aid you will receive a Student Aid Report in return which is also sent electronically to the schools you listed on the FAFSA. The schools will provide you with information on eligibility for tuition, books, supplies, housing and transportation amounts.

Under the Federal Student Aid umbrella are three forms of assistance: grants; work-study; and, loans. Grants are considered financial assistance that does not have to be repaid. The Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are available for undergraduates, graduate teaching students and students who have lost a parent while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Award amounts are limited annually.

Federal Work-Study permits students to earn money while they study and the money does not have to be repaid.

Federal Perkins Loans must be repaid by undergraduate and graduate students to the school that awarded the loan. Undergraduate and graduate students, who must demonstrate financial need, repay William D. Ford Direct Stafford Loans to the US Department of Education. Students must repay direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans to the US Department of Education. Students do not need to demonstrate a financial need for this last form of loans.

If you are considering continuing or upgrading your post-secondary education, it is worthwhile to investigate Federal Student Aid. It just may make the possibility of attending undergraduate and graduate studies possible.