How to apply for loans, scholarships


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The free application for federal student aid allows students to apply for grants and loans from the federal government to help pay for their college education. The deadline is less than a month away for filing.

Brian Mccarthy

Education isn’t cheap.

Attending Iowa State can cost up to $15,000 each year for Iowa residents, and more than $30,000 for non-residents.

Many students have difficulty paying this much for college, said Jennifer Schroeder, the program coordinator at Iowa State’s Student Loan Education office.

The most popular options for financial aid are federal student loans, which can be applied for via FAFSA.

The FAFSA is free to submit online, so students should be wary of sites that ask for money to submit the form, which can expose students to identity theft and scams.

FAFSA’s only official website is

When applying for aid with the FAFSA, it’s important to make sure the correct website is being used, and that the application is submitted by March 1. Filing the form late can cut off some of the university’s limited-funding aid options.

Two major types of federal aid are Stafford subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

Subsidized loans are based on financial need, while unsubsidized loans are not. Subsidized loans also do not accrue interest if students are enrolled at least half-time, but unsubsidized loans do accrue interest.

Additionally, loans are available from private sources such as banks.

“FAFSA and [private] borrowing go hand-in-hand, but they’re separate things,” Schroeder said.

When it is time for students to repay loans, Schroeder said federal loans often have greater flexibility, so she advises students to apply for federal loans before private loans.

The financial aid office also offers scholarship options through FinAidScholar on its website.

The service, which begins Oct. 1 and is due March 1 every year, allows students to submit one application that then puts them in the running for all scholarships the financial aid office offers.

“Our scholarship page also guides students to other avenues around campus that might have scholarship opportunities, like colleges and departments and student organizations,” Schroeder said.

If, for whatever reason, students have to withdraw from classes, they will not have to repay loans if they re-enter classes within six months. If they are gone longer than six months, students can request a deferment of payment.

Ultimately, specific details about financial aid vary widely from student to student. If a student has questions, the Financial Aid Education Office is available for assistance at 0680 Beardshear Hall.