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Financial Aid

Types of Financial Aid

There are many types of financial aid available for students considering post-secondary education.

  • Grants: Grants are aid that does not have to be repaid and that is typically awarded based on need or commitment to specific programs (e.g. the TEACH Grant).
  • Scholarships: Scholarships are a diverse array of gifts that don't need to be repaid, often tied to merit or specific backgrounds. There are thousands of scholarships offered by schools, employers, individuals, private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups, and professional and social organizations.
  • Federal Work-Study: The Federal Work-Study Program supports student with jobs to earn money to pay for school by working part-time.
  • Federal Loans: Federal loans for college or career school have to be paid back with interest and have a range of repayment options.

Federal Student Aid

  • Pell Grants: Federal Pell Grants are need-based financial aid provided by the U.S. government to help undergraduate students pay for college.
  • FSEOG: A Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a grant for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.
  • Direct Subsidized Loan: Eligible undergraduate students with demonstrated need can apply for a Direct Subsidized Loan of up to $5,500. The U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest on a subsidized loan while you’re in school, for the first six months after you leave school, and during a period of deferment.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: Eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students can apply for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan of up to $20,500. You do not need to demonstrate financial need. You are responsible for paying interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: Eligible graduate or professional students or parents borrowing money for a dependent’s undergraduate education are eligible for Direct PLUS Loans. The maximum loan amount is the cost of attendance cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial aid the student receives.
  • Federal Work-Study: The Federal Work-Study Program supports student with jobs to earn money to pay for school by working part-time.

FAFSA Application

Any student or parent who wants to be considered for federal, state, and school financial aid should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Senator Kaine helped pass legislation to make it easier for students to simplify the FAFSA, make it easier for students to get financial aid, and help 1.5 million more students, including nearly 38,000 Virginia students, access the maximum Pell Grant.

Federal Loan Repayment Plans

It’s important that students and parents understand when and how to pay off federal loans. There are a number of repayment plans.

Interested in Public Service?

Federal assistance programs seek to encourage people to work in geographic areas or professions where there's a particular need (such as doctors in underserved areas); encourage underrepresented groups to enter a particular profession; and provide aid in exchange for services provided (such as military service). There are a number of employment opportunities, internships, cooperative education, scholarships, grants, and fellowships with federal agencies.

Parents Saving for College

Tax-free college savings accounts, commonly referred to as 529 plans, allow parents or guardians to save towards for educational expenses, in interest-earning accounts, where withdrawals (including any investment earnings) are tax-free when they are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses. In addition, up to $10,000 may be withdrawn tax-free per beneficiary per year and used for qualifying elementary and secondary school tuition expenses.

Beyond College

The U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop GetMyFuture provides a one-stop site of tools targeted to individuals aged 16 to 24 to explore careers, learn about and locate training or education programs, and conduct a successful job search.

CareerOneStop Scholarship Finder provides a search tool for scholarships, fellowships, loans, and other financial aid opportunities. Users can search by keyword, award type, residence preferences, and study level. The information is provided under a third-party license and includes nonfederal resources.