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   Alternative Student Loans for College Financial Aid


Before you borrow alternative, aka private student loans, exhaust all of your efforts to get Federal Student Loans and other Federal aid first. Additional loans include:

Here are some helpful Federal student loan informational articles:

Federal Loan Resources

Several federal programs exist to aid students and / or their parents fund a college degree. Some of these are available to students, other loans may be available just to parents. Students must meet strict eligibility requirements in order to be considered for these loans.  You must be enrolled in school at least half time. You must be a U. S. citizen,  have permanent residency, or eligible non-citizen status.  Make satisfactory academic progress. This means dont fail your classes or you could be put on academic probation and lose your eligibility for financial assistance. You must not have unresolved defaults on Title IV education loans and grant. Lastly, you must satisfy all Selective Service requirements; that is, if youre male, you must have signed up for the draft.

Federal loans made to students and/or parents:

1.      Federal Perkins or Perkins Loan- need based loan offered through the United States Department of Education to help students fund their advanced degrees. Carl Perkins was a United States Senator and the Perkins Loan is so named in his honor.  The Perkins Loan has a fixed interest rate of 5% for the entire ten-year repayment period. Borrowers begin to repay the loans starting in the tenth month after graduation; the first nine months are a grace period that allows students to transition from school into the work world. Interest will not accrue until the grace period is up; if a student falls below half state level, or if the student withdraws from the college or university. Undergraduates can borrow as much as $20,000 total. Graduate students may borrow as much of 40,000 in a lifetime; this amount includes undergraduate loans. A portion of the Perkins Loan may be cancelled each year for teachers in designated, low-income school. 

2.      Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) : this program allows private organizations to service federally guaranteed loans to students and their parents. This program provides the funds for Stafford and Plus Loans.

3.      William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (FDSLP) or Direct Loans; for these loans the Department of Education acts as a lender. This program provides funds for Stafford and Plus Loans.

4.      Stafford Loans formerly known as Federal Guaranteed Student Loan Program; the name of the program was changed in 1988 to honor Senator Robert Stafford. These college loans are offered at a lower interest rate than a private loan; there are also strict guidelines that the student must meet to be considered eligible.

In order to apply for these programs you must complete and file a FAFSA (Free Financial Aid Application Form. This establishes your need for financial assistance for loans that are based on that requirement. Private loans will not require a FAFSA. Remember to start the College financial aid application service as early as possible.  Make copies of everything you sent off if at all possible. Keep a financial aid diary; write down when you completed and filed a FAFSA and if this was online or y by some other mean. Keep good records of everything financial aid departments can make mistakes and the more clear your records are the faster you will get over a glitch.

Complete Federal loan information can be obtained at

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