Higher education continues to grow in expense, such that an elitist class of people can only afford to pay for it outright. The rest of the population has to turn to financial aid packages, which regularly include federal Stafford student loans. These loans take up the bulk of a lot of financial aid packages and make it possible for everyone to get a higher education degree. There are a couple of different Stafford loans but only one way to apply for them.
How To Apply For A Stafford Loan
A federal subsidized Stafford loan means that the federal government pays the interest on your student loan while you are in school at least half time, carrying eight to twelve credits, depending on the institution of higher learning which you attend. Unsubsidized Stafford loans accumulate the interest regardless of whether or not you are in school, thereby compounding the amount you owe to a greater degree and sum by the time you have graduated and finished your degree. Obviously then, you would want to apply for direct Stafford loan that’s subsidized first, and unsubsidized second or last depending on what else you can get in your financial aid package.
Every year starting in February, college students can go online to FAFSA.gov to fill out their applications for the following school year’s financial aid package. The FAFSA, or Federal Application For Student Aid, is a long and lengthy application when first filled out, but gets easier every year as long as nothing changes in income, assets or other monetary items that would affect aid or the receiving thereof. Students, if under a certain age and still technically under their parents’ charge, would have their parents fill it out as it is based on the parents’ income tax forms from the previous year and their fiscal picture. If the student is married or independent of their parents’ home and can provide proof of such, or if they are a non-traditional older student, parents’ income and taxes are no longer necessary to the application. It then becomes the student’s responsibility to show proof of need and income and any tax forms they had filed for the previous year. Once complete and FAFSA has received accurate documentation, it takes a few months without corrections to develop an offering of a financial aid package, and the student has to check on the form that they are interested in federal Stafford student loans.
Paying The Loans Back
Once a student has finished their degree and graduated, the student loan grace period is two months. Two months are given to everyone to find a job and start paying the loans back. At this point and time the interest will start to accrue unless you have also chosen unsubsidized Stafford loans, which, if you remember, the interest has been accruing all along.
If you find that you can not pay your loans back because of financial hardship or can’t find a job in your field, there is such a thing as a Stafford loan forgiveness program. This route isn’t for everyone; it usually involves extremely stressful and potentially dangerous service in areas of the country or globally where poverty and crime rates are high, even among young adults and teens. For example, taking a job as a teacher in the roughest neighborhood in Harlem or Milwaukee and serving there on staff for x amount of years, the federal government will take note of your service (you have to notify them that you’ve taken the position, of course!) and completely excuse your loan. If you don’t mind this work and want to make a difference in such difficult communities, then this might be the perfect way for you to get your education for “free”. There is also an enrollment application for this program in most states, and it can be downloaded from the government’s financial aid website or you can get a copy from the college financial aid office. Don’t do this though, until you’re certain you have a job that qualifies for forgiveness.
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