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Financial Aid: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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Federal Stafford subsidized or unsubsidized loans are aid that must be paid back, and are offered to students who show additional financial need. With subsidized loans, the government subsidizes or pays the interest for the the loan (up to the time of repayment). Federal unsubsidized loans require the student to be responsible for all loan interest accrued.

- The Perkins Loan Program is offered to both undergraduate and graduate students demonstrating need at a low interest rate, with loans given at a first come, first served rate so apply early.

- The Federal Work Study Program provides part-time employment opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial need. The funds provide up to 75 percent of the student's earnings, with the balance paid by the employer.

In addition to the federal government, students receive financial aid from state higher education agencies, colleges and universities, and outside scholarship sources.

State Aid & Worker Retraining Programs
To investigate educational grants available from your state, simply call or visit the Web site of your state's department of education. Many states have special agencies or foundations that assist adult learners (i.e. California's Capture the Dream, and Delaware Governor's Education Grant for Unemployed Adults). States also may offer aid for specific majors, i.e. those pursuing education in nursing, teaching, or other fields, as well as reduced tuition for seniors.

If you have recently lost your job, or are a dislocated worker, ask about worker retraining programs. State retraining grants are provided through The U.S. Department of Labor one stop career centers and The Workforce Investment Act (WIA). To apply, contact a service representative in your area (located through one stop career centers).

Private foundations and other nonprofit organizations award grants for career retraining as well (for example, the Engelberg Foundation, Knight Foundation, Morgan Chase Foundation, Newhouse Foundation, Robbins Foundation, SBC Foundation, Schwartz Foundation, Wachovia Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation). Assitance may also be available from your employer with a tuition assistance program.

College and University Awards
Most colleges and universities offer awards to incoming or transferring students. Many of these grants can be substantial, and cover a large part of tuition. The biggest awards are often offered from major universities with large endowments, however smaller colleges can also provide generous financial aid, so research them when selecting a school. Awards can be academic, need, or talent based, and competition is high. As applications need to be submitted early in the year, the sooner you apply the better. Colleges also may offer special scholarships to adult students or single parents (as well as other school specific scholarship opportunities); check their financial aid office or Website for information (i.e., the Iowa State University Adult Student Scholarship Fund, Minnesota State University Re-entry Scholarships, and the Penn State Osher Foundation Re-entry Scholarship.)

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