The Federal Student Loan Website: 7 Things You Should Know
The federal student loan website covers tons of programs, and has many resources available. I have pulled out the 7 I think will benefit you the most below.
When you start getting ready for college, saving money for tuition, picking a major and a school, you can get a lot of help here. The list is next, and after the list a few random thoughts on the site.
1. More than Direct loans and the FAFSA
I found 4 federal student loan websites:
All of these sites interlink with each other, and you can end up on any of them from the others. I've listed them here separately to help you see the benefits of each.
2. Online FAFSA Form
Many people don’t know this, but you can fill your FAFSA out online, and even get an estimate of what your family contribution should be. Filling the form out online helps, because you have online help available right there.
To fill out your FAFSA, you’ll need your IRS 1040 tax form from last year and a few more items, like your W-2. You’ll find a list under the Before Beginning a FAFSA menu button on the left side.
Or, if you are a dependent, you will need the 1040 from whoever claims you, such as your parents. Are you a dependent? Let’s find out in number 3.
3. Dependency Status
In the green box below the number 1, you’ll see a link to dependency status. This link can be very helpful. The dependency worksheet walks you through several questions to determine if you meet the requirements to be independent.
Why is this important? If you meet the independence requirements, you may qualify for more money for college from both grants and loans.
On the top menu bar, and at the bottom of box #1, the green one, you can look at deadlines for both federal and state. So if you plan to attend a school in New York, California, or any other state, and that school bases scholarship awards and grants on your FAFSA, this list can be invaluable.
5. Student Aid Report
In box 3, at the bottom you will find a link labeled view and print your student aid report. This tells you what you can get in federal student loans and grants after you submit your FAFSA. Note that just above this link you can check the status of the FAFSA you already filled out.
6. Need to find Scholarships?
The Scholarship Wizard
has thousands of scholarships, and doesn’t require any purchase or registration. You can search for scholarships that match your information, and scholarships in general. Also, my
college scholarship searches
page has more about this wizard.
Students.gov Site has a wealth of info
Students.gov has a ton of information on it. You can find information about financial aid, but also student jobs, college life, internships, study abroad, and more.
Information can be hard to find
I could go on and on, with dozens of links. These sites have calculators on them to help you estimate how much student aid you’ll need, and tons more.
The trouble is, most people don’t know about these free websites. The federal student loan website is just the tip of the iceberg. Many students and parents don’t ever find the rest of the tools available to them.
Spend some time surfing these federal student loan websites and get familiar with them. You can get a great start on what resources the government offers. Like grant programs. Many people don’t know about the Pell, ACG, SMART and TEACH grants, for example.
Hope you find every thing you need to finish college!