You should also read my other post 101 General Aviation and Flight Training Scholarships. Besides the scholarships, there are many other financing options available for flight training courses. In this post we will review the financial aid or financial assistance available through the US Federal Government.
The U.S. Federal government provides certain programs to help students fund the cost of their education at a college, university, professional, technical, or a vocational school. There are various federal programs available for students who are enrolled at least half time in a college degree program, and maintaining satisfactory academic progress, and not in default on a previous grant or loan. Financial aid offered from the federal government is based on individual financial needs and situations.
If you desire to receive financial assistance from the federal government, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA application is utilized by the U.S. Department of Education to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and eligibility for available federal aid programs.
The available federal programs include the following:
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is a grant that does not have to be re-paid. This grant is available for undergraduate students currently enrolled at least half time and is based on financial needs. The grant amounts range from $400 to $4,050 depending upon the estimated family contribution.
Federal Perkins Loan
The Federal Perkins loan is awarded to under-graduate and graduate students enrolled at least half time and is based on exceptional financial needs. This is a loan and must be re-paid. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible, as this program has limited funding availability.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
FSEOG is available for under-graduate students enrolled at least half time and is based on financial needs. Assistance offered varies in each individual case. Awards range from $100 to $4,000 per year.
Federal College Work-Study Program (CWSP)
CWSP is available for graduate or under-graduate students enrolled at least half-time and is based on needs. Students can work a maximum of 20 – 25 hours per week against at least the minimum wages.
Federal Supplemental Loan for Students (SLS)
SLS is available for graduate and independent under-graduate students enrolled at least half time. Loan amount available: $4,000 a year for the first and second years of under-graduate studies; $5,000 for the third and fourth years of studies provided the student attends a full academic year. Total funds available: $23,000 for under-graduates; $73,000 for graduate/professional students (including undergraduate amounts).
Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
PLUS is available for parents of dependent students and allows parents to borrow money to assist their children pay for the college tuition fee. The student must be enrolled at least half time. Parent loans are not based on financial needs. The amount borrowed each year can be up to the college tuition fee less any other financial aid received. The parent(s) can obtain the application from any participating lending institution or the Financial Aid Office of the school. There is no limit on the cumulative maximum totals of the loan. However, deferred payments are not possible, and loan re-payment starts two months after the loan is fully disbursed.
Federal Stafford Loan Program (subsidized and un-subsidized)
All Federal Direct Stafford Loans are either subsidized (the government pays the interest while you’re in school) or un-subsidized (borrower pays all the interest; however, the payments can be deferred until after graduation). Stafford Loans are available to under-graduate and graduate students enrolled at least half time and in good standing and is based on financial needs. Maximum loans available are: $2,625 for freshmen, $3,500 for sophomores, $5,500 for juniors and seniors, and $8,500 for graduate or professional students, but not to exceed $23,000 for under-graduates or $65,500 for under-graduate and graduate loans combined. You can obtain an application from any participating lending institution or the Financial Aid Office of the school.
The Student Guide is the most comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. This guide provides the detailed information about: student eligibility, financial needs, dependency status, application, special circumstances, withdrawals, deadlines, types of Student Federal Aid, borrower responsibilities, and rights, important terms, phone numbers and web site addresses etc. This publication is updated each year. The Student Guide is available in English and Spanish, an can be downloaded from the U.S Department of Education’s web site.