Federal Student Aid: What Are the Options for College?

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is a need-based grant available to undergraduate students. These grants usually do not need to be repaid. The amount that you may qualify for depends on several factors including your financial need, your school’s tuition costs and whether or not you are a full-time or part-time student. During the 2016-17 school year, the maximum Pell Grant amount was $5,815.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

FSEOG is a grant that is administered directly by the financial aid office of your school based on an allocation of funding provided by the government. These grants are for students with the greatest financial need. In 2016-17 FSEOG awards at AIU were awarded at $300 per session and usually do not need to be repaid.

Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loans are federal educational loans that are available to students who qualify for federal aid. The Department of Education serves as the lender for these types of loans. For those who qualify, Direct Loans are available to students regardless of income. The amount students may be eligible to borrow depends on their degree program and financial information.

There are two types of Direct Stafford Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. For both types of loans, students can defer their payments while they are in school. Subsidized loans have slightly better terms in that the government pays the accrued interest while a student attends college at least half-time and for six months after leaving school. Unsubsidized loans have the same interest rate as subsidized loans, but the interest accrues during school. However, repayment is not required to begin until at least 6 months after ceasing to be enrolled at least half time.

Read Our Financial Aid Guide

Federal Direct PLUS Loans

Federal Direct PLUS loans are not based on need but they are based on credit. These loans require that the borrower have a good credit history. If you have poor credit, you may qualify by applying with an endorser who has good credit. The United States Department of Education serves as the lender for this type of loan. PLUS loans are available to graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students. Like other government-supported financial aid, you can apply for a PLUS loan by filling out the FAFSA. Interest begins to accrue once the PLUS loan amount is fully disbursed; however, payment may be deferred up to 6 months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half-time.