Important News on Federal Student Aid Programs
Federal Student Aid Comprehensive Website: studentaid.ed.gov
This new website combines information and tools from several of Federal Student Aid’s websites.
Some of the most frequently used or most important links from this comprehensive US Government website are collected here (this guide). Explore the Federal Student Aid website for additional links and resources.
Federal Student Aid from the U.S. Department of Education is the largest source of aid in America, providing over $150 billion in grants, work-study, and federal loans for students attending four-year colleges or universities, community colleges, and career schools. This page discusses who gets aid, the types of aid available, how to apply, and more!
Recent changes in the law governing the federal student aid programs could impact your financial aid starting July 1, 2012. Here's an overview of the new requirements for the federal student aid programs.
Aid can come from
The federal government offers a number of financial aid programs. Besides aid from the U.S. Department of Education, you also might get
- scholarships and loan repayment through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and National Health Service Corps (NOTE: "primary care" for NHSC includes mental and behavioral health providers who are employed or seeking employment at approved sites).
Federal student aid includes the following:
- the state where you live
- Even if you're not eligible for federal aid, you might be eligible for financial aid from your state. Contact your state grant agency for more information.
- the college you attend: UNC Chapel Hill Funding Resource Links
- a nonprofit or private organization
Grants & Scholarships (from Federal Student Aid website)
Learn about grants and scholarships at the Federal Student Aid website.
Make sure scholarship information and offers you receive are legitimate, and remember that you don't have to pay to find scholarships or other financial aid.
On this page of the Federal Student Aid website, learn about free sources of information about scholarships:
- the financial aid office at a college or career school
- a high school or TRIO counselor
- the U.S. Department of Labor’s FREE scholarship search tool
- federal agencies
- your state grant agency
- your library’s reference section
- foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups
- organizations (including professional associations) related to your field of interest
- ethnicity-based organizations
- your employer or your parents’ employers
Before you apply for financial aid, learn how to spot potential fraud, avoid paying for free services, and prevent identity theft. Learn how to file a complaint.
Loans (from Federal Student Aid website)
Loans: Learn more here.
If you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your school’s financial aid offer. A loan is money you borrow and must pay back with interest.
If you decide to take out a loan, make sure you understand who is making the loan and the terms and conditions of the loan. Student loans can come from the federal government or from private sources such as a bank or financial institution. Loans made by the federal government, called federal student loans, usually offer borrowers lower interest rates and have more flexible repayment options than loans from banks or other private sources. Learn more about the differences between federal and private student loans.
- FAFSA4caster: free financial aid calculator that gives you an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid
StudentLoans.gov Financial Awareness Counseling Tool (FACT)
- View your loan information, including the types of Federal Title IV loans and grants you have and your loan servicer.
Loan Forgiveness Tab on this guide
Loan Repayment & Postponement Tab on this guide
Reduce Education Costs: Tax Benefits
Reduce Education Costs: Tax Benefits
- IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education
Read IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education to see how you might benefit from federal income tax credits for education expenses.
- Tax Benefits Page at studentaid.ed.gov
- the American Opportunity Credit (first four years of post-secondary education), Lifetime Learning Credit, tax-free Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA)—money from this account can be withdrawn without penalty.
- tax advantages of state college savings plans (Qualified Tuition Plans aka State Section 529 plans) and prepaid tuition plans at College Savings Plans Network
- student loan interest deducations
- using IRA withdrawals for college costs