College Financial Aid
JobMonkey is not a college financial aid website, but many who visit are students or have thought about going back to college. This section is for you!
College is in your future. Congratulations! As you well know, a college degree is an invaluable asset. Over their lifetimes, college graduates earn a million dollars more than non-grads.
College is also an increasingly expensive investment that can’t be conquered by most with student loans, scholarships, and grants. The average price tag today for a four-year, in-state college degree is $50,000 – and it’s going up an average of 7.2% each year.
Figuring out how to pay for school can often be overwhelming and even depressing.
Maybe this is your first time enrolling in college. Or maybe you attended years before, but didn’t finish up. If you dropped out of school once before, it’s likely that finances played a big role – they do for more than 40% of college drop-outs after the first semester.
The good news is there are numerous resources available to help you foot the bill. This guide to Financial Aid provides you an overview of most of them. Keep reading to learn more about:
Determining your College Financial Aid – How much does your college cost? How much aid are you entitled to based on your income, savings and investments?
FAFSA – Your key to the treasure chest of federal and state financial aid is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Learn what this is and how and when to complete it to maximize your financial aid package.
Federal Financial Aid – The Federal government provides grants and loans to students and their parents to help pay for college. Get the run-down on what types of aid are available and how to qualify for them.
The Pell Grant – One in four American college students receives a Federal Pell Grant, which provides up to $4,700 per year toward your studies. The Pell Grant, which never has to be paid back, is for students whose families earn less than $50,000 per year.
Stafford Loans – A majority of college students find it necessary to take out loans to help pay for their education. The Stafford Loans are federally-backed, low-interest loans that can provide you up to $57,000 over your college career. Find out more about interest rates, loan terms, subsidized vs. unsubsidized Stafford loans, and eligibility requirements.
Perkins Loans – Like the Pell Grant, Perkins Loans are designed for students from low-income families. If you qualify for a Perkins, you may be entitled to up to $20,000 in loans at a fixed 5% interest rate.
PLUS Loans – Do your parents still claim you as a dependent on their annual taxes? If they do, they can take out a PLUS Parent loan to help pay for your school. PLUS Loans have a fixed, low interest rate (currently 8.5%) and can be used to cover your entire cost of attendance minus any other financial aid.
Federal Work Study Program – If you’ve ever tried to work full-time and attend school full-time (or even part-time), you know how challenging it can be to balance it all. The Federal Work Study program is designed to allow you to earn money for living expenses while still having plenty of time to devote to your studies.
529 Savings Programs – One of the best ways to pay for college is by saving up. 529s are a tax-deferred savings program that parents and others can use to save for their children’s college. It’s never too early to start saving for school.
Paying Back Your Student Loans – If you’ve just graduated, otherwise left school, or dropped below half-time status, paying back your students loans is about to become a big part of your monthly budget. After a six to nine-month grace period, you must make monthly repayments in accordance with your loan note. Learn more about loan repayment options, deferment, grace periods and default.
Military Financial Aid – If you are serving your country or considering enlistment, be sure to check out our list of the special education benefits members, veterans and their family are entitled to (e.g., the Montgomery GI Bill). There are several military tuition assistance programs to be aware of.
State Financial Aid – Every state in the Union provides some form of assistance to its college-bound residents in order to augment federal financial aid. Read about eligibility, residency and where to find your state’s aid program.
College Scholarships – Scholarships are free money to help you pay for tuition, room, board and expenses. Our college scholarships section teaches you how scholarships work, where you can find them, and how to ace your application process to maximize your chances for free money for college.