What is Studentaid.Gov
If you’re looking to finance your college education, you’ll likely find that with the rising costs of academia, you may need some help. It’s not uncommon today for students both new and old to use student loans to pay for their education, and many of them use federal student loans to do so. These loans are offered by the Department of Education and cover a range of different needs and fields to help students get their degree ambitions off the ground.
Even so, applying for each of these loans individually would be complicated and time-consuming. To help students and their parents deal with the application process for all its available aid programs, the Department of Education created the Studentaid.gov web portal.
This website is the central hub for information, applications, and communication regarding your loans, and it is well worth getting to know. You can easily create an account and manage your FAFSA application, your FedLoan servicing, and more.
More importantly, the website gives you a valuable educational resource to guide you through the process of finding the right financing option for your college education.
Read on below to learn more about Studentaid.gov and how you can get the most from it.
Who Should Use Studentaid.gov?
One of the best things about the Studentaid.gov website is that it’s accessible for a wide range of visitors. Ideally, you can use the website if you’re seeking to apply for a loan or are considering it. Because of this, preferably, you’ll be:
-An undergraduate or graduate student looking to apply for a loan to pay for school
-A parent of a student seeking financial aid to support your child’s education
-A graduate who has left school and is in the process of repaying their education
-Graduates who need to manage their FedLoan servicing
Even so, you don’t need to be active in the process of applying for or repaying a loan to visit the site. In addition to its tools for borrowers, Studentaid.gov includes terrific educational resources that cover all their financial aid programs, as well as the process for applying and managing all your loans.
First Steps to Get Started on Studentaid.gov
Fortunately, it’s quite easy to get started with the portal. With a few steps, you’ll be ready to commence your FAFSA application, manage your repayments, and more.
To begin using the website, you need to:
- Create an FSA ID – This is your way to access the website and manage your account. You can do so here. Simply provide a username and password to move on to the next step.
- Input your personal information, including your name, date of birth, and your social security number.
- Enter your contact information and review the terms before accepting them.
- Set up your challenge questions for security measures and account safety.
- Go to your email and open the newest mail you’ve received. Click the link inside to verify your account.
Once you’ve verified your account, you’ll have full access to the services available on the site, including applications for federal student aid and more. Keep in mind that while you’ll be able to file your FAFSA right away, you’ll have to wait a few days to access other Department of Education sites.
5 Reasons for Using Studentaid.gov Site
More than just your FAFSA hub, it offers several useful tools that help you manage your loans and repayments more effectively. In addition to filing your form there are a variety of things you can do:
1. Parents Can Apply for a Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) Loan
In cases where you need to supplement your child’s federal student aid with an additional loan, you can apply directly on the website. The process takes roughly 20 minutes on your end, though the university your child attends will have to approve the application.
When you apply, you’ll have to fill out the Direct PLUS loan application to provide additional details to your William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan information. In addition to the application, you’ll also need a Direct PLUS loan master promissory note, which outlines the terms of your loan.
Make sure you have your child’s information, your FSA ID, and your employer’s information handy before you apply.
2. You Can Apply for Loan Consolidation
Once you’re repaying your loans, it may be in your best interest to bundle all your payments into a single monthly amount with one rate. Fortunately, you can also do this from Studentaid.gov and it shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete.
To get started, make sure you have the following prepared:
A- Your FSA ID and personal information
B- Details about your loans, including:
i. The type of loan and the program’s full name
ii. The correct contact and mailing address for the loan holder or servicer
iii. The account number found on your statement
iv. The amount outstanding on your loans
Once you complete the application process, you’ll be able to see your new monthly repayment amount as well as your single interest rate and outstanding balance. Your new interest rate is calculated by averaging your existing loan rates and slightly rounding up.
You’ll also be able to choose your loan servicer from the following: Nelnet, Navient, Great Lakes Educational Services, and FedLoan Servicing.
3. You can handle your Mandatory Counseling Online
No matter if you’re a graduate, undergraduate, or professional student, or even a parent, you’ll have to conduct entry and exit counseling when you apply for federal student loans. This process is aimed at those who have never applied for federal aid before, or who are about to leave school and start repayments.
You can complete both sessions within 30 minutes online, and the process is quite educational. You’ll cover topics that include:
A. How to manage your budget and spending
B. Building a repayment plan
C. Avoiding defaulting on your loan
D. How to understand your loans
E. Prioritizing your finances properly
Keep in mind, if you’re applying for a PLUS loan and you have poor credit, you’ll also be required to complete the PLUS credit counseling session, which also takes roughly 30 minutes.
4. You can Choose your Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan
One of the biggest benefits of federal student loans is that they give you a variety of repayment plans that fit with your budget.
You can use StudentLoans.gov’s repayment calculator to see how different repayment plans and programs could affect your finances to select the best option. You’ll also be able to see the IDR programs you’re eligible to participate in.
When you apply for a federal student loan, you may be eligible for one of four IDR plans that cap your repayments to a percentage of your salary (which ranges between 10% and 20%). You can complete the application for an IDR in about 10 minutes.
Make sure to choose the best plan to match your financial circumstances from the following options:
A. Income-Based Repayment – This plan caps your repayments at 10% of your discretionary income if you applied after July 1, 2014, though that may rise to 15% if you’re not a first-time borrower.
B. Income-Contingent Repayment – Your monthly repayments are set at 20% of your discretionary income, or roughly what you would pay with a fixed payment plan over 12 years.
C. Pay as You Earn Repayment (PAYE) – this plan caps your repayments at 10% of your income.
D. Revised Pay as You Earn (REPAYE) – This also caps you at 10% of your income, but never more than your 10-year standard repayment plan amount.
Keep in mind, though, that your repayments aren’t calculated only based on your income, but also by your family size and any other sources of income. If you file joint tax returns, you’ll also need to provide your spouse’s information regarding salary.
You must also cosign your application with your spouse, which you can do directly on StudentLoans.gov. Rest easy, though, as your spouse isn’t on the hook for your loan. If you’re responsible for your IDR, you may also qualify for loan forgiveness after 20 to 25 years of repayments.
How Can I Get Help on Studentaid.gov?
If you have any questions regarding your loan applications, the different programs available, or even the website itself, you can visit their great educational resources for answers.
It can help you address many basic questions and point you in the right direction for further information. For instance, you can contact your financial aid office regarding your loan’s status, canceling it, and when they will be disbursed.
You can also get in touch with your loan servicer to learn more about your outstanding balance, your repayment plan, and to discuss forbearance and deferment options if you’re in financial trouble. If you need to fill out any forms, there’s a very good chance you’ll find them on the website as well.
This includes student loan forgiveness and repayment programs, as well as consolidation if you're afraid you may go into student loan default. You can also get many of your inquiries resolved, and urgent help in tough times.
You don’t need to add any more stress to your college application and getting financial aid shouldn’t be a complicated process. Thanks to Studentaid.gov, the Department of Education has made it easy for anyone to quickly apply for student loans, check the progress and status of their existing aid, and better manage their repayments.
If you’re considering applying for federal student loans, or are in the process of repaying them, make sure to dive deep into the website to get the most from it. By becoming familiar with the website, you’ll be able to manage your outstanding loans better and repay them more efficiently.