Published: Mar 10, 2009

 Education       Grad School       
You can finance your education using one or a combination of the following: institutional resources, federal financial aid, private/alternative loans, or non-loan financing options. For a description of each of these options, please see Step 3: Investigate Education Financing Options.

How is the amount of financial aid I am eligible to receive determined?

Financial aid is determined in part by the amount of financial need you have for funding. You will complete forms, such as the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) that will help your financial aid advisor determine your expected family contribution (EFC). The difference between your cost of attendance and your EFC is the amount of funding you will need to obtain to pay your education expenses. For details about how your school determines financial need, contact your financial aid administrator.

For more general information about determining financial need see How Financial Aid is Determined.

How will I know how much I should borrow?

Try to minimize your borrowing needs by using as many non-loan resources as you can. Before borrowing, you should determine how much funding you can afford to repay. To determine how much you can afford to borrow, see How Much Should You Borrow?

What is the best way to "shop" for loans?

You should be aware of all features and requirements of a loan when comparing it to another loan program. Learn how to compare different loan programs by reading Comparing Costs - What You Should Know About Loans.

Does my credit rating affect my eligibility for student loans?

Many lenders will check your credit history when you apply for private student loans. To learn more about credit, see The Importance of Good Credit.