Types of Financial Aid

There are many ways to get funding for your education; one of the most widely used resources is a federal or private loan.

Federal Stafford
The Federal Stafford Loan is the most common type of federal student financial aid loan, and it requires the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There are two types of Federal Stafford Loans:

  1. Subsidized—A subsidized Stafford Loan is awarded on the basis of need and the federal government pays interest on the loan while you are enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) and for one six-month grace period after you graduate or fall below half-time enrollment.

    NOTE: Graduate students are no longer eligible for government-subsidized Stafford loans. Grad students can still take out unsubsidized Stafford loans, for which interest accrues at a rate of 6.8 percent during school.

  2. Unsubsidized—An unsubsidized Stafford Loan is not based on need and allows some students to borrow additional money. Students are responsible for the interest on an unsubsidized loan. No payments are required on any Stafford Loan until six months after you leave school or fall below 6 credits. If possible, you may want to pay accrued interest on an unsubsidized loan while you are enrolled.

For more information on Federal Stafford Loans, click here.

Alternative Student Loans
Some students may need additional loan funds after maximizing their federal loan options or may not be eligible for federal loans and still need to borrow towards their education. Many lenders offer private alternative loans to help students meet the gap between financial aid and college costs.

Students must either meet the credit criteria of the loan for which they are applying or have a credit-eligible co-borrower. Many of these loans also require enrollment in six or more degree credits per semester, but there are options for students studying in non-degree classes or enrolled in less than half-time status. Reminder: Borrow only what you need. Always remember that you will have to pay back what you borrow.

Click here for UC’s current Loan Information Chart.

A grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. The most common form is the Federal Pell Grant; it is awarded using FAFSA to determine eligibility and awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree. Pell Grants are considered a foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added.

Another grant that may benefit teachers seeking to continue their education is the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant. Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the TEACH Grant Program to provide grants of up to $4,000 per year. In exchange for receiving a TEACH Grant, educators must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students. For more information about the TEACH Grant, high-need fields, and schools serving low-income students click here or download this fact sheet.

For more information about federal grants, click here. UC’s current Grant Information Chart can also be found here.

There are many different types of public and private scholarships available to a diverse range of students. Scholarship programs can be university related or come from an outside source. They usually require applicants to meet specific academic, social, or economic requirements that are unique to each scholarship program.

Make sure to thoroughly explore all scholarship materials for detailed requirements and disbursement information.

Click here for UC’s current Scholarship Information Chart. Another free Scholarship Search can be found through Federal Student Aid by clicking here.

For information about UC’s Financial Aid Refund Policy please Click Here.

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  • Jennifer says:

    Is the TEACH Grant available for those seeking the reading specialist degree?

  • Hi Jennifer! The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is a grant that may benefit prospective students that qualify. For more information about the TEACH Grant, high-need fields, and schools serving low-income students please click here or contact an Enrollment Advisor at 800-226-0075.