When paying $3.80 for gas is getting ridiculous, along with the price of just about everything else within the retail industry as well, who can afford even higher tuition for college over the next several years? I can’t and I’m single with no dependents. Those of you moms, dads and guardians that are struggling with the cost of college, let alone sending your son or daughter off with an “expense account.” It’s costly, and unfortunately the looming word “loan” creeps into everyone’s mind, and surely is probably the last thing you would consider taking out due to the tremendous amount of future burden school loans might have.

But, if you ask anyone that graduated college, chances are 90% of them took out some sort of loan, and most of them may tell you that it’s really not a big deal. This certainly depends upon the amount of the loan and how much you have to pay back, compared to what your annual salary is. This is your choice and responsibility. The amount you take out must be paid back accordingly, but there are so many other options. The federal government is ensuring that the degree you get is sufficient enough for you to earn a salary large enough to be able to pay these loans back. Gainful Employment is another safety measure aimed at college graduates being able to sufficiently pay back for their education.

But, don’t go down the loan route just yet. Check out the following list of available federal grants and loans that make it easy for you to attend college, no matter your age or degree.

Below is a list of the federal program aid available to all college bound students, depending on financial status and estimated family contribution. This list consists of the names of the program, as well as what it requires and the possible amount you could receive.

Federal Student Aid Glossary

Federal Pell Grant

Grant that does not have to be repaid

Available almost exclusively to undergraduates; student may receive up to two consecutive maximum awards in a year if attending school year-round

Annual amount: est.: 2010–11: up to $5,550

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Grant that does not have to be repaid

For undergraduates with exceptional financial need; Federal Pell Grant recipients take priority; funds depend on availability at school

Annual amount: $100-$4,000

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

Grant: does not have to be repaid unless student fails to carry out service obligation, in which case student must repay TEACH Grant as Direct Unsubsidized Loan with interest accrued from date grant was disbursed

For undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students who are or will be taking course work necessary to become elementary or secondary teacher; recipient must sign Agreement to Serve saying he or she will teach full-time in designated teacher shortage area for four complete years (within eight years of completing academic program) at elementary or secondary school serving children from low-income families

Award amount: up to $4,000 a year; total amount may not exceed $16,000 Graduate student: Total amount may not exceed $8,000

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Grant: does not have to be repaid

For students who are not Pell-eligible; whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11; and who, at the time of the parent’s or guardian’s death, were less than 24 years old or were enrolled at least part-time at an institution of higher education

Award amount: Maximum is same as Pell maximum; payment adjusted for less-than-full-time study

Federal Work-Study

Money earned while attending school. Money does not have to be repaid.

For undergraduate and graduate students; jobs can be on campus or off campus; students are paid at least federal minimum wage

Award amount: No annual minimum or maximum amounts

Federal Perkins Loan

Loan: must be repaid

For undergraduate and graduate students; must be repaid to school that made the loan; 5% rate

Award amount: Undergraduate students: up to $5,500; Graduate and Professional students: up to $8,000

Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan

Loan: must be repaid

Subsidized: U.S. Department of Education pays interest while borrower is in school and during grace and deferment periods; student must be attending at least half-time and have financial need; fixed rate (set annually) for new borrowers

Award amount: $3,500–$8,500, depending on grade level

Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Loan: must be repaid

Unsubsidized: Borrower responsible for all interest; student must be at least half-time; financial need not required; fixed rate (set annually) for new borrowers

Award amount: $5,500–$20,500 (less any subsidized amounts received for same period), depending on grade level and dependency status

Direct PLUS Loan

Loan: must be repaid

For parents of dependent undergraduate students and for graduate and professional students; students must be enrolled at least half-time; financial need not required Unsubsidized: Borrower responsible for all interest

Award amount: Maximum amount is cost of attendance minus any other financial aid student receives; no minimum amount

There is another option…check out the billions of dollars in scholarships awarded each year. In fact, the following posts from TheCareerCloset consist of specific scholarship websites and search sites that i highly recommend. Loans don’t have to be the last option. For more specific details and answer to your questions, visit fafsa.gov or www.federalstudentaid.ed.gov.







Also check out www.studentaid.ed.gov/scholarship for a free online scholarship search.

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Your Success is My Success,

Keith Lipke

I’m a careers and college recruiter, coach, mentor and blogger at The Career Closet. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college