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´╗┐Understanding Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are not available through every college or university, the school must be part of the federal aid programs that are monitored and administered by the United States government to be eligible for federal student loans and programs for students. These federal student loans and aid programs are actually very diverse in nature and not all federal student loans are the same. Understanding the differences between the various federal and private student loans options can allow students to make the best possible choice for their education funding.

Typically the federal loans will be available for specific types of programs that are limited to two or four year undergraduate programs or those at approved trade schools. The schools may be public or private, however the school itself must qualify before students attending the program at the campus will be eligible for a federal loan.

A Stafford loan one of the many federal student loans that students can apply for. Stafford loans will be available to almost any student, regardless of their financial status, credit score or their ability to have a co-signer. Stafford loans may be either subsidized or unsubsidized, depending on the specific financial situation for each individual student that applies. Stafford loans offer a standard deferment or grace period that allows graduate students to wait to start paying for the loan until six months after graduation or three months after they change from a full-time to part-time student. This extra time before repayment starts gives students a chance to find a job and get a few paychecks in the bank before starting the loan payment. There is a limit on the amount of funding for a Stafford loan and these limits are rather low $3500 to a high of $5500 for undergrads.

Subsidized federal student loans are ideal for students that have limited financial resources or have large debt. A subsidized loan will not have any interest attached to the loan on graduation. This means that the student is only responsible for repaying back exactly what they borrowed, without the additional interest. Unsubsidized student loans do have interest attached and students can either pay the loan plus interest when they graduate or they can pay the interest while they are in school, decreasing the final payment on their loan when they graduate. Depending on the student's financial situation, class and course workload and other contributing factors either subsidized or unsubsidized federal student loans can be important in getting the financial means to complete college or university undergraduate programs. It is important to note the federal student loans can only be granted for educational purposes and within the restrictions of the Higher Education Act.

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