Student Loans & Grants
Below are a few of the many resources available for financing your education.
Department of Education Student Aid Resources
The U.S. Department of Education Student Aid web site provides a number of resources for student loans and grants. Visit their web site to:
- Learn about Federal Student Aid Programs including grants, campus-based aid, Stafford Loans and Plus Loans;
- Use tools to calculate your costs and prepare your financial aid applications; and
- Create a personal portfolio to store all your financial aid information and help you plan.
The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Students may use their grants at any one of approximately 5,400 participating postsecondary institutions. Grant amounts are dependent on: the student's expected family contribution (EFC) (see below); the cost of attendance (as determined by the institution); the student's enrollment status (full-time or part-time); and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less.
Congressman Sarbanes’ Public Service Loan Forgiveness Option
In 2007, Congressman Sarbanes authored a provision of the College Cost Reduction Act that provides loan forgiveness for graduates employed 10 years in public service careers.
High student loan debt and low starting salaries have made careers in public service untenable for many. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) addresses these challenges and helps to make a public service career an option for graduates by helping to alleviate the burden of student loan debt after 10 years of qualifying loan repayment while employed full-time with a nonprofit or governmental organization. (During those 10 years, the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan can help keep your loan payments affordable.)
- Starting July 1, 2009, the Department of Education began to offer the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program, which lowers monthly loan payments based on the borrower’s income.
- After 10 years of payment on qualifying loans while employed full-time in public service, the remaining balance of a borrower’s federal student loan debt will be forgiven. Borrowers must certify their progress toward this benchmark by submitting the PSLF Employment Certification Form to the U.S. Department of Education.
- Only Federal Direct Loans are eligible for forgiveness.
- The 10-year payment period does not need to be consecutive, so a borrower may leave public service, work in the private sector, then return to public service.
- As long as 10 years of on-time monthly payments are made while employed full-time in public service, the borrower’s remaining debt is forgiven.
To learn more about Public Service Loan Forgiveness, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service.
To learn more about Income-Based Repayment, visit http://www.ibrinfo.org/ or https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven.
Download Congressman Sarbanes’ Guide to Public Service Loan Forgiveness.