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Financial Aid Search: Studying up on Great Student Loan Programs

Jan 24, 2008
Ready to go to college? Need to do a little financial aid search to get more money for college? Read through this list, all about the different kinds of student loans.

By the way, you'll see the term FAFSA a few times below. FAFSA refers to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It's a form you fill out to determine how much federal aid you can get. Some of the loans below don't use it, some do.

Read up and start your financial aid search for student loans.

1. Perkins loans offer a delayed payment, subsidized interest type federal program. This means that if you have a Perkins loan, you don't pay more than the set interest rate, and you make no payments until you are out of school for 6 months. You can get these at universities that offer the Perkins program. You need to fill out a FAFSA for this.

2. Emergency or short term tuition loans come from some schools. I used this to help me pay tuition one semester, and had to pay it back in 6 months. For me, this worked well the one time I used it.

3. Stafford loans you will probably recognize as the biggest federal student loan program. By the way, this program used to be called a guaranteed student loan, or GSL. You can get a Stafford that has subsidized or unsubsidized interest. Subsidized means the government pays the interest until you finish school and start making payments. Also, you can borrow from anybody who makes these loans. Your school, a credit union, a bank. Your school will have a list, usually. And often your check will come to the school, not you personally. The Stafford relies on the FAFSA to determine eligibility, and yes, you have to stay under the limit, both each year and the lifetime limit.

4. Computer loans can make you think you have borrowed just for a computer. Here's the deal: you can add the cost of a computer to your estimated expenses once, typically, in a 4 year degree. When you do this, your expenses increase, and you qualify for more financial aid. Because this happens, you will have to turn in your receipt for the computer to show you really bought it. And the financial aid office may call it a computer loan. Truth is, it's just a loan. If it came as a Stafford or Perkins loan, it will also come under the annual loan limits. FAFSA necessary.

5. The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student, or PLUS loan used to be just for parents, but has been expanded. Now graduate students can borrow in this way as well, and the new name is the Grad PLUS loan. The payments start after you finish. You can really get into trouble with this one, since you have no annual limit to your loans. You can borrow as much as you need. Be Careful! You do have to file a FAFSA, but you don't borrow based on being low income or substantial need like a federal grant.

6. Private Student loan and a whole bunch more acronyms can add up to a whole lot more debt. A private student loan usually comes from a bank, and banks have some great programs, each one with its own acronym. You can borrow as much as you need with this type of program, and it's just between you and the bank, no FAFSA required. Watch out! Only borrow what you really need.

Not a bad list, right? You can find some cash, finish school and have a great future. Look up the programs above and get started. You can get the education you want and succeed. Keep trying, you'll make it.
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Need more info in your financial aid search for money for college? Come to come to Beat-Tuition.com and download my free short report on financial aid
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