If you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your school’s financial aid offer. A loan is money you borrow and must pay back with interest.
If you decide to take out a loan, make sure you understand who is making the loan and the terms and conditions of the loan. Student loans can come from the federal government, from private sources such as a bank or financial institution, or from other organizations. Loans made by the federal government, called federal student loans, usually have more benefits than loans from banks or other private sources. Learn more about the differences between federal and private student loans.
The U.S. Department of Education’s federal student loan program is the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Under this program, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. There are four types of Direct Loans available:
It depends on whether you’re an undergraduate student, a graduate or professional student, or a parent.
Federal student loans are an investment in your future. You should not be afraid to take out federal student loans, but you should be smart about it.
Federal student loans offer many benefits compared to other options you may consider when paying for college:
Before you take out a loan, it’s important to understand that a loan is a legal obligation that makes you responsible for repaying the amount you borrow with interest. Even though you don’t have to begin repaying your federal student loans right away, you shouldn’t wait to understand your responsibilities as a borrower. Get the scoop: Watch this video about responsible borrowing or browse the tips below it.
Be a responsible borrower.
To apply for a federal student loan, you must first complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Based on the results of your FAFSA form, your college or career school will send you a financial aid offer, which may include federal student loans. Your school will tell you how to accept all or a part of the loan.
Before you receive your loan funds, you will be required to
Contact the financial aid office at the school you are planning to attend for details regarding the process at your school.
Latest College & Financial Aid News
May 11, 2021
by Izzy Hall
Students were pleasantly surprised to find a free-response question about pop star Taylor Swift on the May 3rd version of the AP US Government and Politics Exam. The question asked students to analyze the content of an Instagram post from Swift that encouraged young people to register to vote for the 2018 midterm elections, and to connect the post to a wider discussion on voter registration. [...]
May 6, 2021
by Izzy Hall
President Biden and Congress are debating on cancelling thousands of dollars in student loan debt. As that discussion continues to unfold, it’s worth noting that since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, student borrowers have collectively saved over $90 billion dollars in federal student loan debt. [...]
May 4, 2021
by Izzy Hall
A growing number of colleges and universities are requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend college this fall. More than 200 colleges across the country have made COVID vaccinations an official requirement for the Fall 2021 semester, including Rutgers University, Notre Dame, Cornell College and Duke. It’s a unique case for colleges who, while requiring students to have certain immunizations in the past, have not faced a challenge quite like COVID. [...]