Undergraduate Federal Aid Programs

A complete list of all available Undergraduate Federal Aid Programs.

Private Loan Programs

CCP's 2017-2018 list of Possible Private Loan Programs.

Aid for Military Families

You may be able to get money for college or career school for you or your family member's military service from the federal government and nonprofit organizations.

After looking at the costs of several institutions, it can leave you wondering, how are students able to afford a college education? Well, most students do not pay the full “sticker price” of the college they attend. When it comes to paying for college, money is available in the form of grants, fixed interest loans, special merit or need-based scholarships, and work-study programs. Financial aid can make the most expensive college affordable.

Over 70% of college students receive some form of financial aid. However, it is important to note that families are still expected to contribute to the costs of higher education. Family contributions can be met through a variety of options including:

  • Savings
  • Tuition Payment Plans
  • Federal Parent Loans
  • Federal/Private Student Loans

The better informed you are about the college admission process, the better chance you have of being accepted into and affording your first-choice institution. Applying to a reasonable range of schools can give you more options when it comes down to decision time. It is critical that students recognize that while a college degree can be expensive, families who are aware of all the resources that are available to help them afford a college education can usually find a way to make it happen.


Please note: All students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for the following programs.

Undergraduate students may receive between $5,500 and $12,500 per year in Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans depending on certain factors, including the year in college.

Subsidized Federal Stafford/Direct Loans must be repaid. The U.S. Department of Education pays interest while borrower is in school and during grace and deferment periods. These are loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college or career school. Student must be enrolled at least half time.

Unsubsidized Federal Stafford/Direct Loans must be repaid. The borrower is responsible for interest during the life of the loan. These are loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but in this case, the student does not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan. Student must be enrolled at least half time. Graduate students are eligible for up to $20,500 per year.

Federal PLUS/Direct PLUS Loans must be repaid. The PLUS Loan is for a parent with a dependent, undergraduate student who is enrolled at least half-time. Parents must also pass a credit check to determine eligibility. Repayment begins on the day of disbursements; options available to defer payments while student is enrolled at least half time. Parents are eligible to borrow up to the cost of attendance, determined by the school, less any aid (Direct loans, grants etc.). (Note: If the parent does not pass the credit check, the student may become eligible for up to an additional $5,000 from the unsubsidized Direct loan program).

Federal/Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Degree Students must be repaid. Graduate and professional degree students are now eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to their cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance. Students must pass a credit check and have applied for their maximum annual loan eligibility from the unsubsidized and subsidized Direct loan programs. Students can receive a six month grace period for repayment.

Federal Perkins Loan must be repaid. The Perkins loan has one of the lowest interest rates (5%) and is awarded by the financial aid administrator to students with exceptional financial need. The interest on the Perkins Loan is subsidized while the student is in school and the student has a 9-month grace period after graduating or leaving college before repayment begins. There is a $5,500 maximum for undergraduate students and a $8,000 maximum for graduate and professional degree students.

Federal Pell Grant does not have to be repaid. The Pell Grant is awarded to students with exceptional financial need. The award amount is based on the cost of attendance, Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and enrollment status of the student. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the maximum Pell Grant award is $5920.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) does not have to be repaid. The FSEOG is a federal grant program for undergraduate students with exceptional need; FSEOG grants are awarded by the school's financial aid office. Award is up to $4,000.

Federal Work Study (FWS) Employment does not have to be repaid. For undergraduate and graduate students; jobs can be on campus or off campus; students are paid at least federal minimum wage. Money earned from a FWS job is not credited to the tuition bill. Therefore, FWS earnings are typically used to cover indirect costs (books, materials, personal expenses). No annual minimum or maximum award amounts.

For more information log onto studentaid.ed.gov.

Funding Options Beyond Federal Loans

It is critical for families to make informed decisions about managing college costs. It all starts by understanding your options. Talk with the financial aid professionals at the school you will be attending. Aid administrators are focused on helping families understand the financial aid and funding process. Until then, here are the highlights of various options beyond the federal student loan program.

  • No interest payments
  • Typically payments are divided over 8 - 12 months
  • Helps to limit the need for borrowing by allowing families to pay college costs from current income
  • Enrollment fee
  • The school’s financial aid office or bursar provides information about payment plans
  • Revolving credit line that is backed by the portion of the home value that the borrower owns outright
  • Interest rates are most often variable and payments will vary depending on the interest rate and amount owed
  • Carefully read as certain fees may apply
  • Interest may be tax deductible - See irs.gov for more information
  • A one-time lump sum loan based on the amount of equity a homeowner has in the property
  • Usually features a fixed rate, payment and term
  • Do your research as certain fees may apply
  • Interest may be tax deductible - See irs.gov for more information

Private student loans are consumer loans made to individuals to help pay for college. They are provided by for-profit and nonprofit lending organizations and are not backed by the federal government. Private student loans are designed to supplement, not replace, other financial aid sources to fill funding gaps. Only borrow what is needed to cover your education expenses and take advantage of all federal student loans before considering a private loan.

Work with the financial aid office at your school to look into sources of federal, state and/or school aid prior to getting a private student loan. If you have already done this and are still unable to cover your expenses, a private student loan may be a good option. Generally, they are less expensive than unsecured consumer credit (such as credit cards). If you require a private student loan, do not wait until your tuition bill is due to apply for one, because you may receive less favorable terms and conditions.

Compare Loan Features

Private student loan lenders offer different incentives to try to entice you to choose them over another lender. Some features to look for and compare among the various lenders include:

  • Repayment Length
  • Interest rates: fixed versus variable
  • Cosigner release options
  • Interest rate reduction for automatic payment-set-up
  • Loan forgiveness options

Questions to Ask of a Lender before Borrowing:

  • Can you defer payments while in school? Some lenders do require interest-only or regular payments. Regardless, interest does accrue while in-school, increasing the amount that you owe.
  • Do you need a co-signer (most private student loans require one) and if so, is there a co-signer release option (meaning after a certain amount of on-time payments, the co-signer is released from the loan)?
  • Is the interest rate fixed or variable? — Remember, variable interest rates can fluctuate and rate changes may not always be in your favor.
  • Do you offer private student loan consolidation programs? (Private Loan consolidation programs allow multiple private student loans to be combined into one new loan and may lower monthly loan payments by reducing the interest rate or extending the loan term — keep in mind extended terms may mean more paid in interest over the life of the loan. Many lenders allow for federal and private student loans to be consolidated together.)
  • How often is interest compounded? (meaning how often does the accrued interest get added to the balance of the loan)
  • Are there pre-payment penalties? Can you pay off your loan earlier if you can without accruing an additional fee?
  • Is there a loan origination fee? (lenders sometimes charge a fee to issue a loan — this amount needs to be factored into the overall amount borrowed.

Read all material provided to you by your lender, and ask about things you do not understand. Most private student loans are made by responsible lenders and all are regulated by consumer credit laws. Get to know your lender prior to borrowing, because your relationship with them will be long-term. Visit the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org, ask your financial aid officer and talk to others who have worked with the lender so you can make an informed decision.

Work with the financial aid office at your school to look into sources of federal, state and/or school aid prior to getting a private student loan. If you have already done this and are still unable to cover your expenses, a private student loan may be a good option. Generally, they are less expensive than unsecured consumer credit (such as credit cards). If you require a private student loan, do not wait until your tuition bill is due to apply for one, because you may receive less favorable terms and conditions.

Most programs allow borrowers to delay payments during school and offer hardship deferments during repayment. These options often increase the total amount you will pay, because interest charges will accrue during deferment periods. Some private student loans require a cosigner (a person who promises to become legally responsible to pay your debt if you fail to do so).

If you are considering a variable rate loan, understand that rate changes may not be in your favor and could result in an increased monthly payment.

Read all material provided to you by your lender, and ask about things you do not understand. Most private student loans are made by responsible lenders and all are regulated by consumer credit laws. Get to know your lender prior to borrowing, because your relationship with them will be long-term. Visit the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org, ask your financial aid officer and talk to others who have worked with the lender so you can make an informed decision.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit, which expanded and renamed the former Hope Scholarship, can be claimed for tuition and certain fees your family pays for higher education. Your family may claim a tax credit of up to $2,500 for each eligible dependent for expenses (including qualified tuition, course materials and related expenses) for the first four years of post-secondary education. The eligible student must be enrolled at least half time and must be pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential at an eligible school. You may not claim the deduction if your filing status is married filing separately, another person claims the student as a dependent on his or her tax return, or your modified adjusted gross income of exceeds $90,000 ($180,000 for joint filers). Qualified expenses include tuition, required enrollment fees, and course materials needed for the course of study. Expenses that do not qualify include room and board, insurance, medical expenses, or transportation.

For more information about this credit, please click here.

Your family may claim up to $2,000 for the taxpayer, taxpayer's spouse, or any eligible dependents for an unlimited number of tax years. The amount of the tax credit is 20 percent of the first $10,000 of qualified educational expenses paid, but no more than $2,000 per family. The actual amount of the credit depends on your family's income, the amount of qualified tuition and fees paid, and the amount of certain scholarships and allowances subtracted from tuition. To qualify for this credit, an eligible taxpayer must claim an eligible student as a dependent on the tax return, unless the credit is for the taxpayer or the taxpayer's spouse. The eligible student must be enrolled for at least one academic period in the tax year at an eligible school. You may not claim the deduction if your filing status is married filing separately, another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return, or your modified adjusted gross income is over $62,000 ($124,000 for joint filers).

For more information about this credit, please click here.

Please note: If you're eligible to claim the lifetime learning credit and are also eligible to claim the American Opportunity credit for the same student in the same year, you can choose to claim either credit, but not both. A comparison of the two tax credits can be found here.

You may be eligible to take this deduction if you, your spouse, or a dependent you claim on your tax return was a student enrolled at or attending an eligible educational institution. The deduction is based on the amount of qualified education expenses you paid for the student. Generally, qualified education expenses include tuition and fees required for the student's enrollment. Expenses that do not qualify include room and board, insurance, medical expenses, or transportation.

You may not claim the deduction if your filing status is married filing separately, another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return, or your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), is more than $80,000 ($160,000 for joint filers). This deduction can reduce the amount of your taxable income by as much as $4,000. The exact amount of the deduction depends on the qualified tuition and related expenses that you pay for yourself, your spouse or a dependent for whom you are entitled to claim an exemption on your tax return.

Please note: The Tuition and Fees Deduction cannot be combined with the American Opportunity or Lifetime Learning credits for any single student in a single tax year. A comparison of the tax credits and Tuition and Fees Deduction can be found here.

For more information about this credit, please click here.

The Student Loan Interest Deduction can reduce the amount of your taxable income by as much as $2,500 per year. The exact amount of the deduction depends on the interest paid during the calendar year (including loan origination fees) on a qualified student loan that was taken out solely to pay qualified higher education expenses, but will not exceed $2,500. If interest paid was on a loan in a student name, the taxpayer must claim an the student as a dependent on the tax return, unless the student is the taxpayer or the taxpayer's spouse. You cannot take this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately, another person can claim the loan holder as a dependent on his or her tax return, or your modified adjusted gross income is $75,000 or more ($150,000 for joint filers).

For more information about this deduction, please click here.

Visit irs.gov to download an updated copy of publication 970 "Tax Benefits for Education."

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) provides education benefits to veterans, service members, and some eligible dependents wishing to pursue an education. These benefits are commonly known as the GI Bill and have various components depending on the person’s length of military service. For more information on any of these benefits and their differences, please click here or contact your campus Admissions or Veteran Services Office.

For additional information, please visit the Federal Student Aid website or view this Federal Student Aid publication

Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)

Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008

Yellow Ribbon Program

Common Questions about Veterans Education Benefits

No. They are entitlement programs and do not depend on future legislation by Congress.

No. Various education programs are only available under specific GI Bill programs. In order to receive benefits, students have to be at an eligible institution of higher learning and in an approved education program, which includes state agency approval. You should ensure the education program you wish to enroll in will be qualified for reimbursement under the GI Bill for which you are eligible.

Yes. However, the housing stipend is not available (restrictions apply).

Yes. MGIB provides a single monthly amount intended to cover a person’s tuition, fees, supplies, books, equipment and other education costs. Veterans have 10 years to use MGIB benefits. Benefits are paid directly to the beneficiary. The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides separate payments for tuition and fees, housing and books and supplies. Veterans have 15 years to use their benefits. Tuition and fees are paid directly to the institution. Housing and books and supplies stipends are paid directly to the beneficiary. Depending on a person’s circumstances, MGIB may provide better benefits than the new Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Yes. Other veterans education benefits, including MGIB, will continue alongside the Post-9/11 GI Bill. It is imperative that veterans consider carefully which program will be best for them based on their personal circumstances and are encouraged to speak with their branch representative.

No. Any education benefits paid to a beneficiary by the Veterans Administration does not need to be reported on an income tax return.

U.S. Nationals and certain non-citizens are eligible for U.S. Department of Education financial aid assistance.

“Eligible non-citizens” include the following:

  • U.S. permanent resident with an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551)
  • Conditional permanent resident (I-551C)
  • Holders of Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) stating
    • “Refugee,”
    • “Asylum Granted,”
    • “Indefinite Parole,”
    • “Humanitarian Parole,”
    • or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”

An eligible noncitizen must provide his/her Alien Registration Number (ARN) on the U.S. Department of Education’s financial aid application called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For more information, please see the “Eligible Noncitizen” page of the Federal Student Aid website at studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/non-us-citizens.

According to the International Affairs Office of the U.S. Department of Education, while the U.S. government does not provide general scholarship assistance for international students, nor are international students eligible for loans or grants provided to U.S. citizens and permanent residents by the U.S. Department of Education or other federal agencies, many countries offer foreign study funding in the form of grants or scholarships for their own nationals who are admitted to an approved program or institution abroad and who qualify for the assistance program. You should check with your national higher education authorities.

Institutional and Local Assistance

Many U.S. academic institutions have their own resources for assisting international students. It is important for you to check with the international admissions office to discover if you may be eligible for any institutional or community support that may be available. Financial aid application requirements will vary by school. Talk with someone in the International Admissions office at the schools which most interest you.

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