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Federal Student Loan and Grant Overview


Federal Student Loan & Grant Information


Preparing for college and making sure you have the funds to cover your expenses can be extremely overwhelming, particularly if you do not have a scholarship or your family can’t afford the expense, either in full or even partially. While there are a variety of grants and loans available out there, trying to sort through the right loan and grant options can be confusing and it is essential that you gain the knowledge needed to determine your best course of action. Here we have an overview of federal student loans, getting a student loan, Pell grants, and an abundance of applicable information to make the process easier for you.

Federal Student Loans/Aid

The federal government provides loan assistance to students who meet specific requirements and agree to adhere to certain terms. There are two specific federal student loan programs which students can apply for:


  • The Federal Perkins Loan Program


This loan program is institution-based and is available to graduate and undergraduate students who are suffering financial hardship. The Federal Perkins Loan Program provides students with funds directly from their school rather than from the government.


  • The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (known as Direct Loan) Program


This is the most expansive federal student loan program available, and the funds you receive come directly from the federal government. This direct loan program has four different loan options:

  • The Direct Consolidation Loan

This permits students to combine all student loan debt (if it is eligible) into one loan under one lender, resulting in one payment.

  • Direct Subsidized Student Loans

These funds are provided to undergraduates who are experiencing financial hardship and are able to prove the hardship; the money is to assist in covering their tuition for higher education.

  • Direct Plus Loans

Available to professionals, graduate students or the parents/guardians of undergraduate students considered their dependents. These funds are intended to assist in covering any expenses other loan types do not cover.

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans

These loans are for qualified professional, graduate and undergraduate students. There is no proof of hardship required to qualify.


The amount of funds students will be eligible to receive depends on the loan, the student’s status, and a number of other factors. Here is a brief descriptive overview of the fund amounts available and to whom the funds are available:


  • Loan amounts for parents or guardians of dependent undergraduates


This covers the left-over costs which were not covered by other loans. Parents or guardians must undergo a credit check when applying for this. The amount will vary.


  • Undergraduate students


Perkins Loans: Up to $5,500 per year depending on need, other assistance amounts, and school-fund availability.

Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans: $5,500 to $12,500 depending on a variety of factors, including what year of college you are currently in.


  • Graduate Students


Perkins Loans: $8,000 per year depending upon the same factors listed above.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Up to $20,500 per year

Direct Plus Loans: Covers remaining costs (credit check required)

Pell Grants

Pell Grants are not repaid. Usually undergraduates working toward a professional or bachelor’s degree are the only awardees, but those enrolled in teacher certification programs may be considered exceptions. You are not eligible if you have been incarcerated on a state or federal basis or have been convicted of a violent or sexual crime. The maximum Pell Grant benefit has been raised $5,730 to $5,830 in 2015.


Besides the resources above there are a number of other loan and grant programs you may want to check into. If you need assistance paying for your education, check into the resources above, as well as others available to you. You will soon be able to put your college financial worries behind you and continue to strive for professional success.

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