Student Aid on the Web
Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. At the office of Federal Student Aid, our 1,200 employees help make college education possible for every dedicated mind by providing more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to more than 15 million students paying for college or career school. We are proud to sponsor millions of American minds pursuing their educational dreams.
Federal Student Aid is responsible for managing the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. These programs provide grants, loans, and work-study funds to students attending college or career school.
We ensure students and their families can benefit from these programs by
The programs we administer comprise the nation's largest source of student aid. Every year we provide more than $150 billion in new aid to nearly 14 million postsecondary students and their families. Among our most visible and essential services are the development, distribution, and processing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM), the form used to apply for all federal, as well as for many state, regional and private student aid programs. Each year approximately 14 million FAFSAs are processed.
The aid from our programs allows students and their families to cover school expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. To receive federal student aid, a student must be enrolled in an eligible program at participating postsecondary institution, whether it be a two- or four-year public or private college or university, career school, or trade school.
There are three basic types of federal student aid: grants, loans, and work-study.
Grants do not have to be repaid. Sometimes they are referred to as gift aid. Generally, grants are for undergraduate students, and the grant amount is based on the student's financial need, as determined by the information reported on the FAFSA, cost of attendance, and enrollment status. There are four federal grants:
Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Our loan programs allow undergraduate and graduate students to borrow money to cover their education expenses. Parents also may borrow to pay education expenses for dependent undergraduate students. Generally, loan amounts depend on the student's year in school, cost of attendance, and the amount of other aid received. Some loans are based on the student's financial need and others are not. There are five federal loans:
Stafford, PLUS, and Consolidation loans are made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Through this program, students and parents borrow directly from the federal government at participating schools. (Note: Before July 1, 2010, Stafford, PLUS, and Consolidation Loans were also made by private lenders under the Federal Family Education Loan [FFELSM] Program.)
Work-study lets students earn money while enrolled in school to help pay for education expenses.
Note: Not all schools participate in all Federal Student Aid programs. Ask the financial aid administrator at your school about the programs that are available.