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Financial Literacy - College funding
How to pay for college: the loan route
If you have to borrow for college, a loan from the federal government is the least-expensive way to go.
Smart ways to pay for college

How to get government aid

Getting a grant or a loan through the federal government is the least-expensive way to fund your college education. And it pays to know what's available and who's eligible.

Regardless of what route you take, though, the first step is to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

Here's a thumbnail look at the types of grants and loans available from the federal government.

How to get government aid
Grants Loans
Pell grants

Pell grants
Who qualifies: Undergraduate students from families with less than $50,000 in income.

How it works: Grants do not have to be repaid by the student, and other kinds of student loans can be used to supplement grants. The maximum amount for grants changes each year, but the amount an individual receives depends on financial need, the cost of the school and status as a full-time or part-time student. For the 2007-2008 award year, the top grant is $4,310, but that is increasing: In 2008-2009, the top grant rises to a maximum of $4,600, and then by $800 over the next five years, to a maximum of $5,400.

  What's your secret to success with college funds?
Or, are you struggling? Share your story.
-- Posted: Sept. 17, 2007
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