Always apply for federal and state grants and college and private or community scholarships before considering a student loan. Once you've exhausted these alternatives, federal student loans may be an appropriate solution to help with your expenses. Although you must repay a student loan, it’s considered a form of financial aid because it provides the funds necessary to pay for college expenses. Click here to learn more about federal student loans, such as annual and lifetime loan limits, fees and interest rates, and repayment terms and conditions.
What is a loan?
Student loans are real loans, just like a car loan or mortgage. You must repay a student loan after you leave college even if your financial circumstances become difficult or you don't complete your program. So we recommend you use alternative sources of payment whenever possible.
Who can borrow a loan?
Federal regulations require that information regarding your loan, including loan types and amounts, be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). This loan information will be accessible by federal loan agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system. You can access your NSLDS information with your Department of Education issued PIN.
Federal Student Aid
Your Federal Student Loans - Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt publication
Direct Loan Borrower Services
NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System)