Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, plays a central and essential role in America's postsecondary education community.
Federal Student Aid's core mission is to ensure that all eligible Americans benefit from federal financial assistance-grants, loans and work-study programs-for education beyond high school.
A key role that Federal Student Aid performs is to make students and their families aware that financial aid is available and is a necessary first step to further education. The program distributes numerous publications, hosts multiple Web sites and runs several customer call centers. Most of these services are also provided in Spanish.
Federal Student Aid is financial help for students enrolled in eligible programs at participating schools to cover school (a four-year or two-year public or private educational institution, a career school or trade school) expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Most federal aid is need-based. The three most common types of aid are grants, loans, and work-study.
- Grants are a type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Generally, grants are for undergraduate students and the grant amount is based on need, cost of attendance, and enrollment status. The maximum amount you can receive from a Federal Pell Grant for the 2008-2009 school year is $4,731. For the 2009-10 award year (July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010), the maximum award is $5,350. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants will range from $100 to $4,000.
- Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Both undergraduate and graduate students may borrow money. Parents may also borrow to pay education expenses for dependent undergraduate students. Maximum loan amounts depend on the student's year in school.
Popular loans include the Stafford, PLUS, Consolidated, and Perkins loan programs.
- Work-study lets you earn money while enrolled in school to help pay for education expenses.