The Federal Stafford Loan is a fixed interest rate educational loan offered by the U.S. Federal Government. It is available to students who attend college as graduate or undergraduate students on at least a one-half time basis. The Federal Stafford Loan Program is one of the lowest cost options for borrowing money to pay for college, but to qualify it is important to properly fill out the Federal Stafford Loan application.
The Federal Stafford Loan application requires either proof of US citizenship, permanent US residence, or information that the student is an eligible non-citizen. The student must also provide information that confirms he or she is currently enrolled in, or plans to enroll, in a college that participates in the Federal Family Education Loan Program. The loan application does not require a credit check, making it an attractive option for many people with less than ideal credit.
The Federal Stafford Loan application requires information regarding family income, because it is a need-based loan. Each school is responsible for determining need. To do this, it is vital that the student complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA form is used to determine need, and is used by colleges, as well as state and federal government lending institutions. While the FAFSA is time consuming to complete, it streamlines the job of qualifying for student aid by allowing multiple agencies to use one form for qualification purposes.
The FAFSA requires proof of income, such as W-2s and the prior year's federal income tax forms. It also requires an account of untaxed income, such as child support, and worker's compensation wages. The FAFSA form can be filed by mail or online.
Aside from completing the FAFSA and enrolling in a college that is a member of the Federal Family Education Loan Program, there is one other requirement for the Stafford loan. The Stafford loan, because it is a federal program, requires that any recipients must not have outstanding federal education loans, or owe the federal government a refund on a prior educational grant. If the student is in arrears with the federal government, it is important to work out a payment arrangement with the agency before completing the Federal Stafford Loan application. It is not necessary to pay these outstanding debts off in full before receiving a Stafford loan, but payment arrangements must be made and documented.