FAFSA Applications Offer More Money Than in Past Years

By By U Wire

By U Wire

PROVO?College students and high school seniors can start filling out federal financial aid applications for the 2002-03 school year to help pay for their college education.

The U.S. Department of Education estimates $49.4 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study opportunities will be awarded to approximately 8.2 million students. Ten-million students file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form each year.

“President Bush wants to make sure that no one is left behind when it comes to access to higher education and training. There is more federal assistance available now than ever before, and we’ve worked to make the application process easier for students,” said Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education, in a press conference last week.

The FAFSA is the form students must fill out for federal aid.

There are two possible types of Stafford Loans available to those who qualify through the FAFSA form?subsidized and unsubsidized.

A subsidized Stafford loan is a low-interest, federal student loan with interest paid by the federal government during in school, grace and deferment periods. The loan is given based on the needs of an individual. Not all applicants qualify for assistance.

Ty Lister, an associate financial aid counselor at Brigham Young University, cautioned future missionaries to determine if their lenders classify missions as deferment periods. Lister said most Utah lenders allow missionaries deferment periods, but the missionary will not have a grace period when he or she returns from his or her mission.

The grace period is a six month time slot a student can be out of school without having to pay back loans.

An unsubsidized loan is financial aid for which anyone can qualify. The interest rate is 5.39 percent for students in school and 5.99 percent for those not in school.

Lister also advised students to talk to a financial officer to discuss different options. For students who have plans to marry, Lister said, “We ask that they come in the financial aid office before they marry, so we can know whether they should file for federal aid separately or when they are married.”

BYU has a verification process in which administrators double-check all the information submitted on the FAFSA form. The verification can cause a time delay in the loan process, but in many cases, it catches mistakes and has qualified people for loans who would not have received aid without the verification, Lister said.

For more information on federal aid, students can visit their school counselors or go to www.fafsa.ed.gov.

U Wire