Federal Financial Aid

Two-thirds of all student financial aid comes from federal sources. This page gives a brief overview of the federal grants, loans, and work-study programs that are based on financial need.

A good place to start is the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Aid on the Web.

Specific Federal Student Aid programs include the following:

  • Federal Pell Grants
    • for qualifying undergraduates pursuing their first bachelor's degree
    • do not have to be repaid
    • $5,550 maximum per award year
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
    • priority is given to Pell Grant recipients (the college determines eligibility)
    • do not have to be repaid
    • $4,000 maximum per year
  • Federal Work-Study
    • for undergraduate and graduate students who qualify
    • operates just like a part-time job
    • no maximum amount
  • Federal Perkins Loans
    • for eligible students at participating colleges; loans are made through the college
    • must be repaid with 5% interest
    • up to $5,500 a year for undergraduates; or a total of up to $27,500
  • Stafford Loans
    • for part-time and full-time students who are eligible
    • must be repaid
    • subsidized (deferred interest) and unsubsidized (interest accrues while the student is still in school)
    • $3,500-$12,500 maximum (depends upon grade level)
  • PLUS Loans (Parent Loans)
    • for parents of dependent undergraduate students
    • loan must be repaid with interest
    • maximum is the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student receives