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College Students

Guides students through the process of locating and applying for financial aid.  Prepared by the Congressional Research Service for the U.S. Senate, updated February 2014.

Getting Started

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Student Aid and Where It Comes From

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Basic assistance categories:

  • Financial need-based: Remember that students and their parents are responsible for paying what they can-- financial aid is a supplement, not a substitute, for family resources.
  • Non need-based: Factors include academic excellence, ethnic background, or organization membership. Corporations may also offer assistance to employees and children.

Federal Student Aid:

Targeted Aid for Special Groups

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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).

Aid for Private K-12 Education

Repaying Your Loans

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After college, the federal government has ways to help you repay your loans.