10.08.09 | Stafford Loan Benefits are Plentiful

Posted in Stafford Loan by Kristin Morris

What do you like most about the Stafford loan?  Is it the low fixed interest rate?  Is it the fact you don’t have to begin repayment until you are out of school? How about the fact you don’t need a co-signer at a time when everyone is required to have a co-signer on a loan?  Or perhaps it’s the possibility of having your entire loan balance forgiven if you go into certain fields.  It seems there is no shortage of reasons to love the Stafford loan.  Stafford loans are like the loan for the people, though they do have set thresholds.

Keep in mind if you do fall short of the funds you need you can always go the private student loan route, though those loan types do requre a co-signer.  You can also look into scholorship opportunites.  You can search a scholarship database or sign up to be a Scholarship Points member with a chance to win one of the free monthly scholarships given away to students here in the United States. Monthly scholarship awards range from $500 to $10,000 per month.

09.21.09 | How do Stepparents Factor into the FAFSA?

Posted in FAFSA by Kristin Morris

Stepparents may not be obligated to aid you with your studies, but that doesn’t mean their financial details are not required.

I realize that probably doesn’t sound fair to you – that someone who doesn’t contribute a single dime toward your college education is calculated into the FAFSA, but it really does make sense. His or her income and assets represent significant information about families resources as a whole.

Perhaps this stepparent helps pay the mortgage, put food on the table, or pays the electric or gas bill.  These may sound like basic necessities, which they are, but it is all part of the cumulative family picture that the Department of Education is examining when considering all applicants for federal aid.

09.14.09 | Pell Grant Eligibility

Posted in FAFSA, Financial Aid, PLUS Loans, Stafford Loan by Kristin Morris

What qualifies me for a federal Pell Grant

  • The first thing you need to do is complete your FAFSA. Your FAFSA is the key to any and all financial aid.
  • Second, you must be enrolled in an undergraduate course of study, though there are some rare teaching certificate exceptions
  • If you have received an associate degree, or any diploma below a baccalaureate, and you enroll in another undergraduate program you are still eligible.

What would make me ineligible for a federal Pell Grant

  • If you already earned a baccalaureate
  • If you are pursuing a professional degree such as pharmacy, dentistry, or veterinary medicine. Professional degrees are not considered undergraduate, and thus, are not eligible.
  • Securing your bachelors degree from another country, unless the school provides written documentation stating that your degree is not equivalent to a U.S. bachelors degree.
  • If you are currently incarcerated

Additional Notes

  • Undergraduate studies are usually only four or five academic years. If the program is longer, like a six-year pharmacy program, then students are considered undergrads for only the first four years unless the school designates that the graduate program begins after the end of the third academic year.
  • Grants and scholarships are always what you should strive for first as they do not require repayment. Join scholarshippoints.com for FREE for a chance at winning over a $100,000 worth of scholarship money for school.

09.11.09 | How Does Academic Probation Affect My Federal Aid?

Posted in Repayment, Scholarships, Student Loan Links by Kristin Morris

Academic probation may cost you your federal aid, or worse, your enrollment in that institution.

Satisfactory academic progress standards are set by the post-secondary school you are attending, which means no one size fits all solution exists. The formal academic probation process at Southern Cal may be entirely different from that of Florida State. Generally speaking, however, academic probation is when your overall GPA has fallen below a 2.0. You are then given a semester to raise your cumulative GPA to above 2.0 (the probationary period). If you are unable to do so you may be sanctioned to financial aid suspension or dismissal from the school.

If a student is dismissed they will need to enter another school, raise their academic standing, and then apply for reinstatement. As for your federal aid, you remain eligible for aid during your probationary period, however, if you fail to reach the 2.0 marker your next semester will be in jeopardy. It is also important to note that you must complete a certain percentage of your classes as well – usually greater than 75 percent. So enrolling in 5 classes and then dropping two won’t cut it. The classes attempted vs. completed ratio is important.

Be sure to check with your school for more details. Remember, if you are in need of funds for school there are always scholarship opportinties worth exploring. ScholoarshipPoints is giving away over $100,000 in scholarship money this year.

07.20.09 | What does federal aid consist of?

Posted in FAFSA, Federal Work-Study, Financial Aid, Stafford Loan by Kristin Morris

When you hear the term “federal student aid” that can be classified into one of three categories.

Grants: Free money that doesn’t have to be repaid, except in some cases when you withdraw from school.

Work-study: You earn money to pay for your education.

Loans: You borrow money for school, which you must repay with interest.

07.25.08 | I didn't graduate High School, do I qualify for assistance?

Posted in FAFSA by Kristin Morris

In order to have the ability-to-benefit one of the most important criteria pieces, in order to receive Title IV program assistance, is that a student must have earned a High School diploma or its equivalent.

Students who are not high school graduates (or who have not earned a General Educational Development Certificate) can demonstrate that they have the “ability to benefit” from the education or training being offered by passing an approved ability-to-benefit (ATB) test.


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