Need Based Loans and Grants

A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. (In some cases, however, a student enrolled in a post baccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Federal Pell Grant.) You are not eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant if you are incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution or are subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for a forcible or nonforcible sexual offense.

Amounts can change yearly. For the 2014–15 award year (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015), the maximum award will be $5,730. The amount you get, though, will depend on your financial need, your cost of attendance, your status as a full-time or part-time student. You may not receive Federal Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.

Effective on July 1, 2012, you can receive the Federal Pell Grant for no more than 12 semesters or the equivalent (roughly six years).

Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are federal student loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education at a four-year college or university, community college, or trade, career, or technical school. The U.S. Department of Education offers eligible students at participating schools Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Here’s a quick overview of Direct Subsidized Loans:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need.
  • Your school determines the amount you can borrow, and the amount may not exceed your financial need.
  • The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan while you’re in school at least half-time, for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period*), and during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).

Here’s a quick overview of Direct Unsubsidized Loans:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
  • Your school determines the amount you can borrow based on your cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive.
  • You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods.
  • If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).

If it is your first time receiving a Direct Loan, you will be required to

  • complete entrance counseling, a tool to ensure you understand your obligation to repay the loan; and
  • sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN), agreeing to the terms of the loan.

FEDERAL WORK-STUDY

Federal College Work Study provides part-time job opportunities for students to supplement financial aid. Work-study students work up to 20 hours per week on campus and can earn approximately $2,300 each year. Download the Work Study Application.

FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANTS

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), like Pell Grants, do not need to be repaid. SEOG grants are given to students with very high financial need and for whom other aid sources are insufficient to meet that need.