Ensure you make an informed decision when your school sends you a financial aid offer via the financial aid office. They will want to know which specific financial aid you are interested in. Carefully review all of your options to make an informed decision that best suits your needs.
When you receive a financial aid offer, consider the following to determine which is the best to accept.
The Best Order To Accept Financial Aid:
1) Accept free money including grants and scholarships first.
2) Secondly, earned money for work-study is next.
3) Lastly, borrowed funds including federal student loans.
Discover Grants and Scholarships
Do your research regarding grants and scholarship eligibility. There are often specific conditions you need to meet to retain eligibility. For example, maintaining a specific grade-point average is one of the key factors for receiving these funds. Alternatively, if you don’t teach for the required number of years, your TEACH Grant might turn into a loan. Finding out the facts before you apply will give you the best chances of securing these options.
Federal Work-Study allows you to work for your funds and not have to repay them. However, you will need to be organized to divide your time successfully between studying and working. Research has shown that students who work while attending classes have better time-management skills compared to those who strictly attend classes.
Federal Student Loan Options
The money will need to be repaid after a certain time period with interest. Generally, subsidized loans don’t start generating interest until you drop below half-time enrollment or leave school. This is a benefit of taking a subsidized loan over an unsubsidized loan. It is better to choose to accept an unsubsidized loan before committing to a PLUS loan.
What Loan Options Are Available From Your Local or State College?
These loan options require being repaid with interest. Double-check the loan terms as they may not be as desirable compared to a federal student loan. Always read all of the fine print prior to borrowing any funds.
Private Loan Options
These loans come with various terms and conditions, and you will have to also repay the funds with interest. Carefully review the terms and conditions of the loan. They are typically not as attractive compared to a traditional federal student loan. Always borrow wisely by ensuring you read the fine print and understand all the loan requirements before signing on the dotted line.