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Entender los Préstamos Estudiantiles y Subvenciones Federales

Understanding Student Loans and Federal Grants

by Anna Peña

The dream to go to college might seem unrealistic because of the cost of the college. But there are a lot of options of ways to help you pay for college. Look into all the different ways to pay for your college education. Look for websites that are free and legitimate. To understand paying for college, it is important to start with some basic definitions.

Grants

Grants are money that doesn't have to be repaid. They can be based on financial need and can come from different sources. The most common are from the federal and state governments and universities

Scholarships

Scholarships are given through private donations, and, like grants, don't have to be repaid. The majority are based on merit or financial need. 

It is important to know that it is not necessary to pay for someone to help you look for scholarships. Scholarship search services don't have special access to scholarships that you don't have access to. You can get more information about scholarships in your school counselor's office, the college financial aid office, the local library or online resources.

Loans

Loans are debts that have to be repaid. Loans can be a resource for paying for college, but be sure to understand the conditions of the loan before you borrow money. Look for loans only after you have looked for other types of aid.

Loans can be helpful and are sometimes necessary ways to help pay for college. Loans should be your last option, and if you need to take out a loan, do so responsibly.

Borrow only what you need. Once you complete the necessary paperwork like the FAFSA, the college will send you a Financial Aid Package and Award Letter. The letter is part of the financial aid package and also includes documents about the loan process. Even if the financial aid letter includes a loan, it does not mean you have to borrow that entire amount.

FAFSA

One of the main steps in the process is completing a form called the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you have a social security number, you need to complete this form to be considered for federal aid and other types of financial aid at the college. Complete this form as soon as you can, after the first of the year during your senior year in high school or before your college's financial aid priority date. Check with the college that you would like to go to see if any additional documents are needed.

Stop by your credit union to learn about more ways to save for and pay for college.

Published. 5-27-2013

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