Education is an important part of the growth in an individual’s life, as it helps to polish them and make their advancement worthwhile. But, there are different levels of education, and as a person goes higher, it becomes more expensive and overwhelming. High school may not be too expensive but most counties and districts in the United States have public schools where students can get free education for little or no fee. College is expensive because it is a higher level that requires more resources and technical know-how. In this article we shall see if you apply for student loans every year or every semester?
There are two categories of student financial aid for college which they can apply for annually or once during their stay in school. For federal student loans, students are to apply every four years by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Private loans take a different approach, as students can apply once during the four years of study or every semester, depending on the source of the loan. The private organization giving out the loan would check your credit report and determine your fees at intervals.
Why do students apply for financial aid?
Higher education studies in the United States are expensive, as it can be up to $22,000 or more per session, depending on the course of study. Most colleges and universities give field training to their students where they get to know the basics of what they would be doing once they get jobs. Students who can not afford the fee of study, along with other expenses apply for student loans to reduce their expenditures. Although they would pay back the loans, they would be in installments, spread across a couple of years.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is an authorized form in the United States that students can use to apply for federal financial loans to get through higher institutions. The Authorities use the data in the request form to deduce if a student is qualified for financial aid like loans, scholarships, and grants and if a student’s family can pay back the student loan.
When can students enroll or apply for the Federal Student Aid?
Students can apply for Federal Student Aid a year before their admission into a university or a college. FAFSA Applications for students begin in October, a year before they start their applications to various higher institutions, and close in June of their first academic year. Students that apply between October and June of the first 19 months have more financial options that Students that apply in June. Based on the data collected, the Federal Government grants early applicants access to student loans, scholarships, or grants.
Types of Financial Aid
With FAFSA Application, Federal loans are financial aids given to students via a system of repayment. When universities or colleges get the financial data of their FAFSA applicants, they can determine how much each student’s family would pay every month or every year across a period, till they finish paying the loan. Federal loans come with little or no interest rate when compared to other individual loans and flexible payment options. There are loans for students who are not on scholarship but have financial difficulty and there are other loans for students regardless of their financial status.
Federal Scholarships are financial aids for students who have been outstanding in their academic activities from high school regardless of their financial status. School Authorities can grant scholarships to students who have shown exceptional academic behavior and rating. Full scholarships are for students with incredible academic records and who continue to reach excellent intellectual heights throughout their university studies. Some Universities also offer 50% and 25% scholarships for students who fulfill their scholarship requirements.
The Federal Government gives non-refundable grants to students who are suffering from financial difficulty. State governments and Colleges also give grants to students who are residents of a state and who decide to go to a college or a university in that state.
Features of the FAFSA form
The information required in the FAFSA form is crucial and students must involve their families and fill it out correctly. The FAFSA form requires basic information like:
- The student’s full name
- The names of the parents
- The student’s residential address
- Date of Birth
- Social Security number
Parent financial information like:
- Bank account information
- Any real estate assets or investments
- Personal businesses
- Family tax information
- Probably some bank or brokerage statements
It is better to fill out the FAFSA online form and send your answers directly to the official site instead of filling out and submitting a paper form. For students to qualify for FAFSA, they must be US citizens and eligible noncitizens, they must be admitted into a higher institution and they must have an economic need.
Private Student Loans
Private Student loans are loans from private lenders or institutions separate from federal student loans. These loans help students pay for tuition fees, rent, and other educational expenses at the University. For students to qualify for a private loan;
- They must be admitted into a university or a college in the United States
- The student’s family or co-signer must have a good credit score
- They must be 18 years or older
- They must be citizens of the United States or eligible noncitizens
Once authorized, Private Student Loan disbursement is sent directly to the school, not the student’s bank account.
Advantages of Private Student Loans
- Private Student Loans are an alternative to Federal Student Aid, so students who fail to qualify for FAFSA can apply for Private Student Loans.
- Once you qualify, the process may be faster than the Federal Student Aid disbursement.
Disadvantages of Private Student Loans
- Higher interest rates compared to that of the Federal Financial Aid
- Some Private Student Loans may not have a flexible repayment option, which spells trouble if a student defaults.
Depending on the type of educational loan, students can apply for loans every year, every semester, or once during a four-year educational study at the university. The FAFSA application encourages families and students to apply for financial aid every year to continue getting federal help. A student who is not eligible for FAFSA can apply the next year or apply for a private loan.