Secondary education in the states is not cheap. Many prospective college students work hard throughout high school with grades and extracurricular activities in hopes of winning some scholarships to help defray the costs of a university or community college. However, there are more ways than just scholarships to pay for college. Grants and loans are also excellent alternative forms of educational funding. Grants are sums of money provided towards a student’s education that does not have to be paid back. Loans on the other hand are sums of money that will be provided to the student with the expectations that it will be paid back eventually. While taking out loans is not always ideal, there are many out there that will help a student get through school. For more information on the various loans and grants available in Michigan, the following article has been provided for review.
Loans Available to Students in Michigan
Loans are not something to be afraid of as long as a student is aware of what he or she is signing up for. There are two program types of loans to be aware of when looking to take out money: direct loans (Stafford loans) and the Perkin’s Loan Plan. The Stafford plan has four types of direct loans available: subsidized, unsubsidized, PLUS and consolidation.
Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans (Stafford Loans)
Subsidized loans cannot exceed the financial need of the student and the loan will not accumulate interest while a student is attending school. Additionally, subsidized loans are only available to undergraduate students while unsubsidized loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Unsubsidized loans have awards determined by the university and will accumulate interest during a student’s attendance at school. Students who are looking to apply to these types of loans must be enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours per semester. Other requirements are that a student must demonstrate financial need to be awarded these loans.
PLUS loans are provided by the United States Department of Education, which requires students to have a clean credit history. These loans will provide awards equal to the cost of a school’s tuition after other financial aid has been disbursed. PLUS loans are also only available to graduate students or parents of dependent undergraduates and will accrue interest after a student is done with school. Another requirement of this loan is that the borrower meets financial aid requirements.
Consolidation loans will allow a student to combine all federal aid loans into a single loan. There are distinct positive benefits as well as some negative ones. Many people choose to take out a consolidation loan if there are already multiple loans taken out because it will simplify the loan to a single monthly bill. Consolidation also lowers the monthly payments because the period to repay the loan increases. However, this also means that a student will have to make more payments and possibly accrue higher interest rates. Another possible drawback is that some borrower benefits like interest rate discounts may be negated.
The Perkins Loan Plan is a school-based program offered to students with exceptional financial need. The school is the lender and a student will have a nine-month grace period before needing to begin making payments on a loan. This loan requires borrowers to be at least a part-time student and demonstrate exceptional financial need. Another major requirement is that a student must attend a school that offers this loan.
Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) in Michigan
FAFSA is one of the most used methods to qualify for student education funding. FAFSA is a program that will determine how much financial aid students attending secondary education institutions can receive. FAFSA is a need-based program and will determine the award amount based on income. If a student is still a dependent, the taxes used to make the award determination will be a parent’s. Every year on October 1, FAFSA applications are open to be submitted.
Michigan Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is one of the most popular grants offered. This grant is only offered to undergraduates without a professional or bachelor’s degree. The awards from this grant may vary depending on the financial need of the student but it currently may not exceed $5,920, though amounts are subject to change. In order to apply for this grant an applicant must also not have a criminal record or be below six credit hours per semester. Other requirements state that students should meet are based on income.
Michigan Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
FSEOG will provide aid to students who are determined to have the most need for financial aid. The amount awarded correlates to income and demonstrated need. However, factors involving application submission, funding availability and other types of received aid also play a role in how much is awarded. This service is also a first come, first serve program.
Michigan Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Learning (TEACH) Grants
TEACH grants are offered only to students who are planning on or already completing coursework for a teaching profession. Another specialty of this grant is that students must enroll into specified classes to have the award disbursed. It should also be noted that if a student does not comply with all of the requirements set forth in the TEACH Grant Agreement, it will turn into a direct unsubsidized loan.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
For students who are children of those who have parents or guardians who were killed during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan or 9/11, this grant may be available. This grant will award up to the same amount of money that the Federal Pell Grant does.