10.03.12 | What color is the FAFSA form this year

Every year we get the same question, so here is your answer:

For the 2013–2014 year, the FAFSA will be green, with a purple section for parents.

For the current year, 2012–2013 the FAFSA is orange.

In previous years:

  • 2011–2012 FAFSA was Yellow
  • 2010–2011 FAFSA was Blue

For detailed information on completing the FAFSA, visit FAFSAonline.

06.18.10 | Get Info on your Federal Loans Online

Posted in Graduate Loans, PLUS Loans, Stafford Loan by Student Loan Network Staff

Can’t remember how much of your graduate school tuition will be covered by a Stafford Loan? Want to know when your next PLUS loan disbursement will arrive? You can access all of your federal loan details online through the Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) database.

The NSLDS database contains all of the information on your loans when funds have been disbursed. You can find details on  Stafford loan,Perkins loans, Pell grants and Plus loans. Simply log on to http://www.nslds.ed.gov/. To enter the database, you will need your four digit FAFSA pin.

04.28.10 | How to Get Your Student Loans Forgiven

Posted in Loan Consolidation, Stafford Loan by Student Loan Network Staff

Imagine waking up tomorrow and discovering you don’t need to pay back your federal Stafford, PLUS and Perkins loans. For many Americans, that dream is a reality, thanks to a number of programs that allow you to have some, if not all, of your loans forgiven.

Aside from applying for a loan discharge, which is available only under extreme circumstances, some career paths and post-graduate options will cover the cost of repaying your student loans. Here is an overview of some of the careers that may take advantage of those options:

Public Service Employees: If you work full time in a public service position, and make 120 payments (approximately ten years) on your loans while employed, you may be eligible to have the remaining balance forgiven. Public service positions include law enforcement officers, early education teachers, public librarians, emergency medical technicians and more.

Volunteers: Many volunteer organizations offer stipends and loan forgiveness options if you provide a certain number of hours of service. For example, AmeriCorps will offer $7400 in stipends on top of $4725 to be used toward your student loans, as well as partial cancellation of your Perkins Loan in exchange for 12 months of service. The PeaceCorps and VISTA also offer similar forgiveness options.

Teachers: Under the National Defense Education Act, full-time teachers in an elementary or secondary school for low-income families may be eligible to have as much as 30% of their Perkins Loan forgiven.  Contact your school district’s administration to see which schools are eligible.

Lawyers: Sorry, the ambulance-chasers on TV aren’t eligible. But many law schools will forgive the loans of students who serve as a non-profit or public interest attorney. For more information, contact the National Association for Public Interest Law at  1-202-466-3686. Or, contact your law school’s financial aid office.

Physicians: Physicians who agree to practice for a certain number of years in economically depressed areas may be able to get some of their medical school loans forgiven by the National Health Service Corps. Check with your state agency for similar programs.

There are other options for repaying your student loans, including income-based repayment, forbearance and deferment. For more information on these options, visit our student loan repayment page.

If you are not eligible for any of the aforementioned repayment options, you might consider student loan consolidation, with can turn multiple loans (federal or private) into a low, single monthly payment and possibly lower your interest rate. For more information on student loan consolidation, visit our help page.

ScholarshipPoints code: 4GIVELOANS

Image credit: kelly ann t on Flickr.

04.26.10 | Federal Perkins Loans, in Plain English

Posted in FAFSA, Financial Aid by Student Loan Network Staff

Fear not loyal readers, I did not forget the last piece of the federal financial aid puzzle: the Perkins loan. Perkins loans are a bit different than your garden variety Stafford loans because they actually come from your school, not from the government.

“But wait… didn’t you just say they were federal loans?” Yes, you’re absolutely right… I did. The quirk about Perkins loans is this: your school (if Title IV certified) receives a certain amount of money from the Department of Education each year, but the school’s financial aid department is the body that is actually responsible for deciding who gets a dip from that Perkins aid pool. (more…)

10.20.09 | Should I Take Out a Perkins or Stafford Loan?

Posted in Stafford Loan by Student Loan Network Staff

When you receive your awards letter back from the school, which is the form that outlines your financial aid options, be sure to pay close attention to the loan types offered to you.

Hopefully you will be eligible for a Pell grant or some institutional aid to saw into that tuition cost, but after that you enter the world of loans.  Two of the most common federal loans you will find are the Perkins loan and the Stafford loan, but which should you take?

The quick answer is the Perkins loan, but that may change over the next couple of years.

Right now the Perkins loan holds a 5% interest rate, while subsidized Stafford loans are at 5.6%.  But for the 2010-2011 academic year the subsidized Stafford loan is dropping down to 4.5%.  So as of today I would say grab the Perkins if it is offered, but tomorrow take the subsidized Stafford loan, unless Perkins loans have a rate drop.  Check with your FAO for further details.

09.21.09 | How do Stepparents Factor into the FAFSA?

Posted in FAFSA by Student Loan Network Staff

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.

04.20.09 | Who is My Lender?

Posted in Graduate Loans, Private Student Loans, Stafford Loan, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

I’d say at least half the people I speak with have no idea who their lender is. And honestly, until you graduate and need to begin making payments it doesn’t matter. Those loans are out of sight and out of mind. But when the time comes when you need to be fiscally responsible or place your loans in a deferment it certainly helps to know who to contact.

If you have federal loans, such as the Perkins, Stafford, or Plus loan there are three different ways you can go about ascertaining who your lender is.

1. If you have your 4-digit FAFSA pin number you can go to www.nslds.ed.gov and follow the prompts.

2. You can contact the Department of Education at 800-433-3243 and request to speak with the borrower tracking department

3. You can contact your school’s financial aid office.

If you have private student loans you can request a free copy of your credit report at freecreditreport.com or annualcreditreport.com. There you will see the names of your lenders listed.

Five most recent student loan help blog posts: