Unlike gift aid, students must repay money they receive as part of a student loan. They'll also have to pay interest on top of the full amount of money they borrowed for school. Some loans give students a grace period during which they aren't required to make payments. Often, this period will extend through the students' time at school. Some loans freeze interest during this period as well.
Before you begin the application process, assess how much of your costs your own resources will cover. Because you'll have to repay loans with interest, it's important to borrow only as much as you need to cover costs. There are federal loans with fixed interest rates that can help. Most of these loans have a maximum cap; however, if your expenses are still too high for you to cover with your own resources and federal loan money, you'll need to seek out an institutional loan.
Institutional loans come from private financial institutions. These loans often have higher interest rates and may require the student to send in payments earlier than federal loans. Students should seek out other forms of financial aid before applying for an institutional loan.
Most schools have a financial aid office that can direct you to some of the loans and resources available to students in your area. Some schools even offer additional financial aid programs such as work study programs. And some scholarships are unique to specific schools. So, as you can see, by doing your research early and making a realistic budget, you can avoid some of the stress of financing your education.
For more about financial aid and other related topics, drill into the links on the next page.