College students come in all shapes, sizes and types. When we think of college kids, we imagine them spending 4 years juggling full course loads. However, some students opt to take their time in completing a degree, or need to do to personal reasons. No matter how many courses you take, however, the cost can still be quite a burden. Therefore, part-time students are afforded financial aid opportunities similar to their full-time peers. Here are some examples of part-time financial aid:
Part-time students are eligible for education loans, contrary to the belief that such aid is reserved for full-time students. The difference, as is the case with most financial aid opportunities, is the amount a part-time student stands to get. Guidelines for both the Perkins and Stafford Loan programs specify that students be "enrolled at least half-time." This means that a part-timer must take at least 6 credits per term to claim federal education loans. In any case, loans for part-time students would typically be in lower amounts than those for full-time students.
The Stafford Loan, which comes in two distinct forms (subsidized and unsubsidized), is hard to pin down in terms of what a part-timer would get, as it's based on factors outside of enrollment (i.e. whether a student is independent or a dependent, year of study, etc). We can say, however, the the bare minimum annual Subsidized Stafford Loan is $250 and goes upward to $7,500. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans allow all students to borrow at least $2,000.
The Perkins Loan functions differently. It has a 5% fixed interest rate, and the program also has the benefit of a 9-month grace period (compared to 6 months provided by Stafford before repayment). The minimum Perkins Loan is $700, upwards to $5,500 per year. The money will also be disbursed through your school instead of by a lender.
The Pell Grant is available to part-time students. Unlike loans, which are trickier to calculate for part-timers, the Pell Grant makes it quick and easy to figure out. Your award is based on a full-time enrollment, whether you attend full-time or not. So, say you are eligible for the maximum annual Pell grant, which is $5,550. Attending only half time will in fact cut the award in half to $2,775, as this would have been the payment amount per full-time semester (and a half-timer learns in a year what a full-timer learns in one semester). It's unfortunate to receive a decreased award, but given enrollment status, part-time students do not have as high of a financial need.
Understandably so, part-time students require less aid and therefore recieve less. However, no matter what your student status, financial aid is always available in some capacity. It's great to know that there are solutions for students of all types, and Go Financial Aid will bring them right to you!