How to get a federal student loan

The cost of attending college has grown at such a rapid pace, that a student loan is probably in your future. Your best option would be a federal student loan, so here we'll tell you how you can get one.

If you need a loan to help cover the cost of a college or career school education, think federal student loans first.

Both federal and private student loans must be repaid with interest, but federal student loans usually offer lower interest rates and have more flexible repayment terms and options. Your income and credit don’t matter with federal student loans and everyone pays the same interest rate.

Federal student loans are offered by the government to anyone who meets these basic requirements:

•    Have a high school diploma or recognized equivalent
•    Enrolled in a qualifying school at least part-time
•    Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen 
•    Not in default with other federal aid
•    Maintain a 2.0 GPA
•    Registered with Selective Service (for males)

The first thing you must do to get a federal student loan is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By doing this, you provide information about your family and your finances, that is integrated with the IRS,  making it relatively easy to automatically obtain the bulk of the financial information about your situation and your parents’ situation. 

With this, the school can assess your level of financial need and offer you an aid package that likely includes federal student loans. If you qualify for a subsidized loan, the government will pay your interest while you’re in school. Otherwise, with unsubsidized loans, the interest begins accruing immediately.

After you accept your financial aid package, including the loans, they will be paid-up through the school, covering your tuition and other costs, before any remainder is passed on to you.

A   new FAFSA has to be filled out every year that you want federal student aid. This may be a bit tiring, but the good news is, as long as you meet the requirements for federal loans, you’ll almost always qualify for federal funding. 

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