For many students, finding ways to fund college other than out of pocket is essential. There are different types of financial aid, or funding for college including scholarships, work-study jobs, grants, and loans.
Federal student loans are provided by the government and often include fixed interest rates that are generally lower than private loans. Federal loans offer more flexible repayment options. Private loans are provided by banks or state-affiliated agencies and often require a co-signer. Private student loans should be a last resort option to cover college costs.
Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are the primary loans offered by the federal government. Subsidized loans are only offered to undergraduate students in financial need. Need is determined by the federal government with the FAFSA application. Unsubsidized loans are available to all students and is not based on financial need.
Direct PLUS loans are offered to graduate and professional students or parents of undergraduate students only and can be useful if subsidized or unsubsidized loans or other forms of financial aid do not cover all costs of attendance. These should be a last resort next to private student loans.
Students wishing to receive federal financial aid such as grants, loans, or work study must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA information is also used to determine eligibility for certain state and school financial aid. Completing the FAFSA does not obligate you to accept any financial aid offered, you will be able to review and decide what aid you need and want to accept. For additional information on special circumstances for financial aid visit UA Student Financial Aid and Federal Student Aid.