Financial Aid Solutions – Student Loans, Scholarships, Grants

The prospect of going to college to earn a degree is not just exciting but rewarding.  With a four-year degree, regardless of the area of study, you automatically become more employable.  Today, most corporations, or at least those that pay best look at candidates and their college experience.  To them, having earned a degree provides peace of mind that this individual would be an excellent employee, someone who works hard, is dedicated to the job, and willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.  In addition to this, people with a college degree make significantly more money than those without so this alone should be incentive.  Therefore, if you have been on the fence about earning a degree, we hope this information will steer you in the right decision.

Even being interested and excited for college means facing a challenge called money.  College on any level is expensive, especially as you move from a Bachelor’s degree to a Master’s, PhD, and above.  However, even when going from high school to college for an Associate’s degree, you need financial assistance.  Therefore, we have provided pros and cons of financial aid solutions, showing you different possibilities along with reasons for and against that particular solution.

Student Loans

These loans are provided by the Federal government and come in two distinct types.  The first is called the Federal Family Education Loan and the second the Federal Direct Loan.  Qualifying for grants and other loans offered by the Federal government is based on financial need but in the case of Stafford loans you could qualify regardless of your financial situation.  In addition, loans of this type can be subsidized or unsubsidized so if you do or do not need financial assistance you could still be approved.

One of the many advantages of Stafford loans is that if approved for subsidized money, interest would not accumulate while enrolled in college.  Then for both the subsidized and unsubsidized loans the principal balance, as well as interest would be deferred until after you graduate.  Therefore, while still working toward your college education no money needs to be repaid.  The one difference for an unsubsidized loan is that even without needing help you could qualify.  In this case, interest would accumulate while in school but for repaying the money, the principal balance would be deferred until after graduation.

When looking at the pros and cons of financial aid solutions specific to Stafford loans, the good is that almost everyone, with or without financial need could qualify.  The one downside to consider is that after graduation, the loan includes interest that must be repaid.

Private Loans

Another possibility to pay for a college education is by securing a private loan.  With this, the money would come from a bank or credit union opposed to the Federal government.  Typically, private loans are subsidized, which means as long as you are enrolled in college, interest would not accumulate.  Although each lender is slightly different, most set private loans up so repayment starts six months after graduation.  However, if you were to secure financial aid such as this and drop out of college, the lender would likely require repayment to start immediately.  For the pros and cons of financial aid solutions regarding private loans, you would find that while attending school the money could be used for tuition, books, and lab time, but also rent, groceries, and other living expenses.  On the negative side, the loan comes with interest.

Scholarships

While the majority of college scholarships are for excelling academically or athletically, the truth is that hundreds of scholarships exist.  The great things about earning a college degree with a scholarship is that first, the money is free, meaning you would pay nothing back, and second, along with finding scholarships from an array of resources they are available based on almost anything.  For the pros and cons of financial aid solutions for scholarships, if you have a special talent, live with asthma, have artistic ability, and more, you can find many excellent scholarships.  The only real downside of scholarships is that depending on the type needed or the dollar amount attached, sometimes locating one can be a challenge.

Government Grants

The last form of financial aid for college we wanted to mention has to do with Federal money in the form of grants.  Today, the government has created several grants for education opportunities, which are available for various reasons to include religion, race, gender, etc.  Although you would have a choice of several options, without doubt the Pell grant is the most popular.  For grants when looking at the pros and cons of financial aid solutions, the positive is that the money is easy to secure and it does not require repayment.  Overall, Federal grants are all positive with the exception that in some cases, qualification may be an issue.

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