Here you will find comprehensive information for both students and parents concerning financial assistance options. Whether you are interested in college, graduate education, or other educational opportunities, there are a variety of assistance options available. Both the federal government and the State of Connecticut offer assistance opportunities including grants, loans, work-study opportunities, and tax benefits for students and their families.
Current Federal Legislation Regarding Student Loans:
Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act: Senator Blumenthal has cosponsored this bill which would prevent interest rates on many federal student loans from doubling this summer. Without legislative action, interest rates on subsidized federal Stafford Loans for undergraduate students will increase from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1, 2012. This legislation will extend the current interest rate of 3.4% for an additional year.
Know Before You Owe Private Student Loan Act: Senator Blumenthal has cosponsored this legislation which would place requirements on lenders of private student loans to improve transparency and increase the information available to prospective students. Private student loans often have uncapped variable interest rates, expensive origination fees, and few, if any, consumer protections. This bill requires private student loan lenders to obtain detailed information regarding cost of attendance from schools and then provide that information to prospective borrowers.
FAFSA: Step One in the Financial Aid Process
The federal financial aid process, as well as that of many states, begins with the completion and filing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This master application is used to determine financial need. The FAFSA for a given school year can be filed starting on January 1st of that year. Additionally, individual schools may have their own financial aid deadlines of which you should be aware.
The FAFSA can be filled out online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Paper copies of the FAFSA can also be found at this website.
While the FAFSA can be amended after it is filed, your chances of getting the maximum amount of aid are greatly increased by a timely filing of an accurate FAFSA. Therefore, submitting an accurate application the first time is very important. Below are some resources for applicants to help with the FAFSA process:
The FAFSA Help Website: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm
The Department of Education FAFSA Completion Guide: http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/publications/completing_fafsa/index.html
The CT Office of Higher Education Financial Aid Website: http://www.ctohe.org/SFA/default.shtml
After you have completed and submitted the FAFSA, the financial aid process generally turns to the financial aid office or the school or schools to which you are applying or which you plan to attend. For more information on the next steps in the Financial Aid process, please look at the following guide, entitled Funding your Educational Future. This resource contains comprehensive information for both students and parents concerning financial assistance options.
If you need additional information, my staff would be happy to discuss these options with you. My constituent services office in Hartford can be reached at (860) 258-6940.