Federal student loans are indeed the pathway to your future these days. It will help students pay for a higher education. Before you go to apply for one though first you need to stop and file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and receive your results by email. You will not be able to go any further until this step is done. Do not leave this to the last minute because it takes about two weeks to finish this process from application to reply. These applications are available online by going to http://www.fafsaonline.com/. This application is free and the website quite extensively helpful, giving you valuable tips to maximize your student aide. The response letter, called an SAR, will include information on what forms you will need and what you are eligible for including whether or not you have been awarded the Federal Stafford Loan.
The Federal Stafford Student Loan is the first step in the federal student loan process but far from the last. Should you find that the Stafford loan will not cover all of your education expenses there are several other avenues for you to explore including a plus program your parents can apply for to help you. When you have qualified for this loan and followed through with a few steps for completion, such as being sure to sign your promissory note and keeping a copy for your files, the money will first be disbursed to the school to cover your tuition then, if anything is left over will either be sent to you in a check by the school as a refund or credited back to the loan as payoff depending on what you choose.
Federal student loans that will cover you when the Stafford Federal Loan will not include loan such as ACT (alternative federal loans) that are from privately held sources, a Perkins Federal Loan, which is a low five percent interest loan for students, both graduate and undergraduate, that is made with federal funds directly from your school. The school itself will hold your note. Federal student loans and aid such as The Stafford Federal loan and FAFSC must be renewed each year you are in school. Federal student loans may be consolidated after graduation to ease the burden of repayment. Due to the possibility of rising interest rates doing this before July 1, 2006 would be in your best interest if this is in your plans.