To apply for federal aid, the first thing you need to do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (a.k.a. the FAFSA). We use this form to determine your financial need and create an aid package for you. The most common loans are listed below.
FAFSA deadline: ASAP after it opens in October.
Federal Perkins Loan
This is a low-interest loan based on financial need. Perkins loans are interest- and payment-free until nine months after you graduate or withdraw from college.
Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
Stafford Loans are federal loans based on need. With the subsidized loan, the government pays the interest while you’re enrolled in school. With the unsubsidized loan, you’re responsible for the interest, though you can choose either to pay it off while you’re in college or to defer and have it added to your principal balance.
Federal PLUS Loan Program
The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) allows parents to borrow funds to cover the difference between college costs and other aid received. The PLUS disburses aid in two installments (half in fall and half in spring), and repayment begins 60 days after the second disbursement.