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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

Perkins loans
Who qualifies: Undergraduate and graduate students.

How it works: Unlike grants, loans must be paid back. Perkins loan money is also limited by the amount a school receives each year and awards are first come, first served. The interest rate on the loan is fixed at 5 percent.

Lender/payback: The lender is the school. Students can take up to 10 years to pay back (perhaps longer if they are in the military). If you participate in a specific teaching position, become a part of law enforcement or the military, or work certain nonprofit jobs, you may have your loan discharged.

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