This award-winning site was established in the fall of 1994 as a public service and has grown into one of the most comprehensive annotated collections of information about student financial aid on the web. FinAid has a stellar reputation in the educational community as the best Web site of its kind. It's comprehensive, it's informative, it's objective--and it's the first stop on the web for students looking for ways to finance their education.
Entrance Counseling Guide for Direct Loan Borrowers
This is a detailed PDF version of the US Department of Education’s Direct Loan student counseling guide. Colleges are required to present this material to every student receiving federal loan money. Student loan terms, rights, responsibilities, and conditions of repayment are covered.
Wanting to apply for federal student aid? Looking for scholarships? Trying to decide on a career? This compilation of federal websites acts as a quick reference to find the information you are seeking to assist you in your education beyond high school.
The U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs are the largest source of student aid in America, providing nearly 70% of all student financial aid. Help is available to make education beyond high school financially possible for you or your child. The information provided here is designed to assist you in your college planning. It provides access to and information about the products and services that you will need throughout the aid process.
Types, Amounts & Limits
Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid
This guide is a comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. Grants, loans, and work-study are the three major forms of aid available through the Department's Federal Student Aid office and are thoroughly explained here and how to apply. Other sections include scholarship scams, identity theft, loan repayment, along with a glossary of terms. English and Spanish PDF versions are available for download.
The annual Department of Education form used to request grants, scholarships, work-study and loans through the college financial aid office. Completing the FAFSA is the first step to qualify for aid, but does not provide funding directly. The FAFSA information produces an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). After the FAFSA is complete, the school's Financial Aid Office can use the EFC to calculate the type and amount of funds a student may receive for the academic year. Completion requires parental and/or student federal tax return information.
Each student, and a parent if considered a dependent student, must obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) before filling out the FAFSA. This number becomes your permanent, legal, electronic signature when dealing with the federal government regarding student financial aid. It will be used when completing future FAFSA forms or federal student loan applications. Use may also be required during loan repayment. Do not share this number with others.
The 4caster is a very simplified version of the FAFSA application that predicts potential financial aid eligibility (estimates the expected family contribution - EFC). Results are for personal use only and can be used by high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, as well as seniors. Families contacting college financial aid offices with this number may be able to find out what type of aid package might have been offered for the current award year had they attended the institution and applied for aid.
This application, accessible on the “Adventures in Education” website, allows undocumented Texas residents to request state financial aid. Funding availability is limited, but does provide an additional resource. The completed form is printed out and given to the financial aid office with proof of eligibility. Colleges which honor the application are listed in Appendix A at the end of the application.
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) central database for tracking student aid. This NSLDS Student Access portal provides a centralized view of federal Title IV loans and grants so that recipients can access and inquire about money owed. There is also a section on exit counseling, which is a required step when a student either leaves or graduates from a college where loan money was received. Exit counseling discusses student borrower rights, responsibilities, and repayment plans.
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is a new way to make your federal student loan payments more manageable. If you teacher, work in government, or work at a nonprofit organization, you might qualify for a new type of public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) after 10 years of eligible payments and employment.
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is a student loan repayment plan available for FFELP and FDLP borrowers. Unlike other repayment plans, IBR establishes a monthly payment that looks at your unique situation by considering your income, family size, and federal student loan debt.
You may be able to combine your existing Federal education loans into one new consolidated loan that offers several advantages. These benefits can include making only one payment per month, establishing one fixed interest rate, paying out sooner, and ultimately saving more money. But, then there are reasons that you may not want to consolidate. The “Borrower Services” section can help you determine what path is best for you. Credit card debt, private college loans, and university or institutional loans are not eligible for consolidation.
The U.S. Department of Education will offer Special Direct Consolidation Loans to eligible borrowers, beginning in January 2012. This is a short-term consolidation opportunity, ending June 30, 2012, for borrowers with:
• at least one student loan held by the Department (a Direct Loan or a Federal Family Education Loan [FFEL] owned by the Department and serviced by one of the Department’s servicers); and
• at least one commercially-held FFEL loan (a FFEL loan that is owned by a FFEL lender and serviced either by that lender or by a servicer contracted by that lender).
Special Direct Consolidation Loans are intended to help borrowers manage their debt by ensuring all of their federal loans are serviced by the same entity, resulting in one bill and one payment (borrowers repay loans to a loan servicer). Borrowers who may be eligible for a Special Direct Consolidation Loan must not apply through www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov. Doing so will make them ineligible to participate in the special consolidation opportunity. For this reason, it is critical that potentially eligible borrowers do not take any action until they are contacted by one of the Department's servicers.
Making the Difference – Federal job opportunities & loan forgiveness
This is a source for federal jobs and internships. This site tells you where to find them and how to get them. Federal employees are eligible to receive up to $60,000 ($10,000 a year) from participating agencies in this program towards the repayment of their educational loans. This program requires a three year commitment to the agency/department that will provide the repayment.
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program (TLFP) was created to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession in certain elementary and secondary schools that serve low-income families. If you teach for a full five consecutive years at an eligible school or combination of eligible schools, you may qualify for up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness. Math, science and special education teachers can qualify for higher amounts.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization Act of 2010, a tax credit of up to $2,500 each year has been authorized for out-of-pocket higher education expenses for course materials, tuition, and fees for 2009 through 2012. You must keep a record of your expenses to be eligible!
Tax Benefits for Education instructions for use in preparing 2010 returns. This publication explains tax benefits that may be available if you are saving for or paying education costs for yourself or a member of your immediate family. This is not easy reading, but it does explain all of the tax implications when receiving educational assistance including credits, deductions, cancellations, and savings. Most benefits apply only to higher education.
Founded in 1978 as a private, non-profit organization, Higher Education Servicing Corporation (HESC), along with our sister organization North Texas Higher Education Authority, Inc. (NTHEA), has worked persistently to ensure student access to higher education. Through a variety of educational outreach programs and services, we continue to serve a larger and more diverse population of students and parents each year. Our outreach programs and services include high school and community based GO Centers (college & career centers), College Prep programs for junior high and high school students, financial aid presentations and FAFSA workshops, K-16 financial literacy presentations, high school counselor training, and support of local STEM programs.
At HESC, we aspire to inspire students to achieve a higher education by promoting a college-going culture through educational outreach activities, services and community partnerships.