Pay for School

If you still need money after taking advantage of all your federal loans, you will have to take out private loans. To avoid private loans, be aware of all federal aid opportunities. There are many financial aid programs to help students pay for school. Before turning to student loans, or at least before repaying them completely, research the options below.

Federal Grants

To get financial aid, students must complete the FAFSA. FAFSA on the Web is the easiest way to apply, but there is a paper form available. Federal Pell Grants are the most common government grants, and are need-based grants. The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a Pell Grant adjunct that helps undergraduate students with exceptional need pay for school. Between $100 and $4,000 per year is available to those who are eligible.

There are special grants for students interested in teaching or majoring in high-demand fields like math and science. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant, TEACH Grant, is for education majors, and the National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant, National SMART Grant, is for math and science. The Academic Competitiveness Grant is a new federal grant for students outside of those fields that have exceptional academic merit, and have completed a rigorous high school curriculum.

Federal Loan Repayment Options

When students use up all grants and scholarships, they have to borrow money. There are a few circumstances where students are eligible for loan cancellation. If you need to take out student loans familiarize yourself with all loan options, and check if you qualify for loan reduction or cancellation.

Those who plan to teach math, science or special education at low-income schools can have their Stafford Loans forgiven up to $17,500. Those who become full-time teachers for at least five years in any subject in low-income schools can get $5,000 in loan forgiveness.

Students who do want to be teachers but are still interested in public service jobs are eligible for discharge through the Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees program, PSLF. If you work for the government, military, law enforcement, libraries or certain tax-exempt organizations you can qualify for partial loan cancellation.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Female-Only Scholarships Under Fire In Higher Ed

August 20, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

Female-only college and university STEM programs are coming under fire for male discrimination as they attempt to "redress gender imbalance" in fields such as computer science and engineering. The U.S. Department of Education launched more than two dozen investigations into higher education institutions nationwide - including UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC as well as Yale, Princeton and Rice - which offer female-only scholarships, awards and professional development workshops.

Author Argues "Assault on American Excellence" in Highly Critical Book

August 15, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

In his book "The Assault on American Excellence," author and former dean of Yale Law School Anthony Kronman is highly critical of American colleges, particularly when it comes to issues of affirmative action, the renaming of buildings that honored those who embraced slavery, and political correctness. [...]

Education Department Beats out Debt Collectors in Student Loan Collection Battle

August 6, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

A U.S. Federal Judge paved way for the Education Department to halt usage of private debt collectors and overhaul the existing federal student loan program by consolidating loan servicing and default collection efforts. [...]

Last Reviewed: August 2019