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

Harvard Supporters Back University in Admissions Trial

October 16, 2018

by Susan Dutca

Harvard students and alumni will testify in support of Harvard during the admissions trial this week, defending its "race-conscious admissions policy" against claims that it discriminates against Asian-American applicants. The trial is the latest chapter in a lawsuit filed in 2014 by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA).

Harvard University has been accused of "balancing its undergraduate classes to ensure that it had admitted its desired share of students of each race and ethnicity" and also for penalizing Asian-American applicants by "systematically giving them lower scores on a metric admissions officers use to measure personality." Adam Mortara, a lawyer representing SFFA, stated that the university scores applicants in four categories: academic achievement, athletic ability, extracurriculars, and personality. While referencing admissions data, he concluded that, despite their higher academic performance, Asian-Americans are admitted at lower rates. [...]

Professor Sent Abroad After Posting Hateful Tweets

October 9, 2018

by Susan Dutca

An associate professor in security studies at Georgetown University who, last week, wished "death and castration" to GOP senators supporting confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is no longer teaching but will be "traveling internationally for university research." [...]

File FAFSA Immediately for Best Chance at Getting Money for College

October 2, 2018

by Susan Dutca

The official 2019-2020 college financial aid season began yesterday, October 1st, so it is critical that you file your Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) ASAP! Whether you are headed to college for the first time next fall, or you plan on attending college next year, you will want to complete your FAFSA as soon as possible, as many states and colleges award financial aid on a first come, first served basis. [...]

Last Reviewed: October 2018