Almost everyone who applies for financial aid qualifies for some type of federal support, whether it comes in the form of grants, loans or a work-study award. Your eligibility is determined by the information you provide on your FAFSA, which you must file each academic year. We outline the basics for you here, but be sure to refer to the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website for full information.
Am I Eligible For Federal Financial Aid?
We strongly encourage every student to apply for federal financial aid, regardless of what you think you might receive. There are so many types of federal aid available — even for families who don’t demonstrate an exceptional financial need. Applying for federal aid is one of the most common ways families finance the cost of college, and a key part of making college more affordable.
How Do I Apply For Federal Student Grants and Loans?
To apply for federal financial aid, you must complete and file your FAFSA by February 15 if you are an incoming student, and April 15 if you are a returning student. Based on the results of your FAFSA, Stevens will send you a financial aid offer, which may include a combination of different types of federal aid. We will also give you instructions at that time telling you how to accept all or part of the aid package.
- October 1: Incoming and returning student applications can file the FAFSA as early as this date.
- February 15: FAFSA priority filing deadline for incoming students
- April 15: FAFSA priority filing deadline for returning students
*Click here for state of NJ (HESAA) deadline information.
What Federal Grants are Available?
If you demonstrate high financial need on your FAFSA, you may be awarded one of these grants. These are a form of gift aid that you do not need to repay. Note that if you are awarded a federal grant, it may reduce any Stevens need-based grant you receive.
Federal Pell Grant
Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students with the most need. For 2017-2018, the maximum award is $5,920. If you are awarded a Pell Grant, the amount will depend on your need, the cost of attending Stevens, and your status as a full-time or part-time student. You can receive the Pell Grant for up to 12 semesters provided you meet satisfactory academic progress toward your degree.
Stevens is proud to offer the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), a federal gift award for students with the most need who are also receiving a Pell Grant. The awards range from $500 to $4,000 per academic year, depending on your need and the availability of funding. FSEOG renewal is based on availability of funds and your continued eligibility.
What is a Federal Work-Study Award?
If you receive a Federal Work-Study Program award, you must earn this award money by working in a work-study eligible job. Stevens has many on-campus work-study job openings for undergraduates. You receive a paycheck for the hours you work, which you can use to pay for your personal or education expenses.
Note: Your total work-study award depends on your level of financial need as well as when you applied for financial aid, which is why we encourage all students to submit the FAFSA as early as possible. Stevens receives and disburses a limited amount of Federal Work-Study Program funding each year, so awards are made to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis.
What Federal Loans are Available?
The federal loans listed below allow you to borrow money to pay for college. You must repay the loan, with interest, after you graduate. Federal loans usually offer you a lower interest rate and have more repayment options than bank loans or other private loans.
Federal Direct Loans
The William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program is the largest federal student loan program. Under this program, your lender is the U.S. Department of Education and you repay your loan to them, usually starting six months after graduation (unless you withdraw from Stevens or drop below half-time status). There are three types of Direct Loans that can help you pay for your Stevens education:
- Direct Subsidized Loans are awarded to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans are awarded to eligible undergraduate students, but you do not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan.
- Direct Parent PLUS Loans* are additional loans made to parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid. These loans have higher interest rates and fees than the two types of federal loans above. If you have an adverse credit history, you may need to complete additional steps and credit counseling before receiving the loan.
*If you have an adverse credit history, you may still be able to receive a Direct PLUS parent loan if you obtain an endorser with good credit, or if you can provide information about extenuating circumstances related to your credit history. The U.S. Department of Education will notify you if you’re required to complete credit counseling in order to receive a Federal PLUS loan. PLUS Counseling can be completed voluntarily at any time.
If your Parent PLUS Loan is credit denied by the federal government, and your parent borrower does not wish to pursue the Parent PLUS Loan you may qualify for an additional Unsubsidized student loan for the academic year. Freshman and sophomore students are eligible for an additional $4,000 for the academic year. Juniors and seniors are eligible for an additional $5,000 for the academic year. More information is available at www.studentloans.gov.
How Much Can I Borrow with Federal Student Loans?
If you are an undergraduate student:
- $5,500 to $12,500 per year in Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans depending on certain factors, including your year in college and dependency status.
- If you are a parent: The remainder of your child’s college costs that are not covered by other financial aid may be covered by a Direct Parent PLUS loan. Note: A credit check is required for the Direct Parent PLUS loan. You may apply here.
What are the Interest Rates for Federal Loans?
The Direct Loan interest rates for loans first disbursed after July 1, 2017 are:
- Direct Subsidized Loans 4.45%
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans 4.45%
- Direct PLUS Loans 7.00%
View the most current interest rates and fees for federal loans at www.studentaid.ed.gov.
Important Information About Federal Direct Loans
When you receive a federal loan for the first time, you must complete Entrance Counseling and sign a Promissory Note on studentloans.gov. You must begin to repay your federal loan six months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. You can choose from several different federal loan repayment and forgiveness programs.
Important Information About Federal Perkins Loans
The Federal Perkins Loan Program, authorized by Congress, is set to expire on September 30, 2017, and institutions will not have the authority to make initial disbursements to continuing borrowers after September 30th. Until now, grandfathering provisions, provided by congressional action, have allowed institutions to continue to disburse funds to borrowers through the Federal Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015.
Unfortunately, there is no indication that the program will be extended beyond September 30, 2017. That means that any student that did not receive a Perkins Loan disbursement prior to September 30, 2017 is ineligible to receive any further disbursements of the loan. The final disbursement of a Perkins Loan must be made prior to June 30, 2018.
p: 1.800.4FED.AID (1.800.433.3243)
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