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What are the main sources of financial aid?
Who is eligible for federal financial aid?
When is the best time to begin the financial aid application process?
What steps do I need to take to receive financial aid?
What is the FAFSA, and where can I get it?
Is there a way to increase my chances of receiving more financial aid?
What are some of the differences between federal and private loans?
Q: What are the main sources of financial aid?
A: The main source of financial aid is the federal government, which provides billions of dollars of financial aid to help millions of students finance their postsecondary education. If a studentís federal financial aid is insufficient to cover the cost of his or her education, private loans are available to cover the rest of the studentís needs.
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Q: Who is eligible for federal financial aid?
A: Financial aid is available for any individual who fulfills the following requirements:
  • Has a high school diploma or GED or has passed a similar independent test approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Is a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. (An eligible non-citizen is a permanent resident of the United States, able to present evidence from the Immigration and Naturalization Service that he or she is in the U.S. for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a citizen or permanent resident.)
  • Is enrolled with the Selective Service (for males aged 18 Ė 25).
  • Is enrolled at least half-time as a regular student in an accredited institution (if you need student loans).
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Q: When is the best time to begin the financial aid application process?
A: The best time to begin the financial aid process is the year before you plan to go to college. You should fill out your FAFSA form as soon as possible after January 1. Check with your schoolís financial aid office to see whether they require any additional forms for financial aid that is offered through the school.
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Q: What steps do I need to take to receive financial aid?
A: After applying to schools, you should complete the FAFSA and any other required forms and submit your Student Aid Report (SAR) to each school that you plan to attend. You should also search for and apply for scholarships. Each school that accepts you will offer you a financial aid package; take these offers into account when deciding which school to attend. Then, apply for additional loans if needed.
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Q: What is the FAFSA, and where can I get it?
A: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that determines eligibility for all federal financial aid programs. It is used to figure out how much a family can afford to pay toward a studentís college expenses based on household income and other factors, including how much you will need to meet the cost of attending college.

To get a copy of the FAFSA, you can ask your schoolís guidance counselor, or you can get the FAFSA from the financial aid office at a local college, your local public library, or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. The online version of the form is available at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.

A FAFSA form must be completed each year that you wish to be considered for financial aid. The new FAFSA form and instructions usually become available in November prior to the new school year. The electronic version typically becomes available online in January prior to the new school year.
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Q: Is there a way to increase my chances of receiving more financial aid?
A: Yes. The best way to increase your chances of receiving more financial aid is to apply as early as possible. At most colleges, the funds allocated for scholarships, grants, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study are preset. Potentially, the school could run out of funds if you do not apply early enough, so it is in your best interest to apply as early as you can.
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Q: What are some of the differences between federal and private loans?
A: Federal loans are borrowed from the government, while private loans are borrowed from lenders such as banks. In general, private loans are credit-based, which means that your eligibility is determined by your credit rating. Private lenders may require cosigners and may also require proof of income from the student or a cosigner before the student is approved for a loan. Additionally, federal loans generally have lower interest rates than private loans.
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How EdFed Helped others!
EdFed helped me out a lot! My student loan balance was not as high as most of my friends, so I didn't even know if consolidating would be worth my time. The loan counselors at EdFed really explained the benefits of consolidating and took the time to do a comparison of my total loan costs with and without consolidating. Even though my loan balance was not large, my monthly payments were reduced by almost 50% through my EdFed loan consolidation! This provided a lot of relief. Now, I know I can make my student loan payments, and I still have plenty of money to do the things I want to. Thank you, EdFed, for walking me through this process.
- Rochelle G.  Chicago, IL
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Education is one of the most basic right of any human, but with the increase in prices and the costs involved in education this has made these rights turn into a privilege which very few can enjoy. Any normal person today in the whole of United States has to take an education loan at one point of time to pay for their education fees.

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CONSOLIDATION NEWS
Schools Will No Longer Receive Paper FAFSA Forms
(September 20, 2007)

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