When you’re investigating your financial aid options to help fund your education, always remember to go for the “free money” first. Free money is grants and scholarships that you don’t usually have to pay back.
The Pell Grant is a huge benefit for students who need help paying for school. Many factors go into deciding who is eligible for Pell grants, but three major factors are family income, household size and the number of people in the household who will be attending college. The maximum Pell grant a student can receive during the 2017-18 school year is $5,920, which is a $105 increase from last year.
If you must borrow student loans to pay for college, borrow only what you’ll need to pay your remaining expenses after the free money and college work study funds you expect to receive. For the 2017-18 school year, federal student loans will bear the following interest rates:
- Direct Subsidized Loan (Undergraduate): 4.45%
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan (Undergraduate): 4.45%
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan (Graduate): 6%
- Direct PLUS Loans (Graduate & Parents): 7%
To find out what types of federal and state aid you will be eligible to receive for college expenses, you must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The 2017-18 FAFSA is available now, and the FAFSA for the 2018-19 academic year will be available on Oct. 1.