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The Federal Direct or the Guaranteed William D. Ford Loan is also called a Direct Subsidized Loan. It is available to students who demonstrate need. Federal government pays interest on the loans as long as the student is enrolled half-time. Repayment begins after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half time.

The Federal Direct or Guaranteed William D. Ford loan can also be an Unsubsidized Loan. It is available to students regardless of need but interest is charged to the students while in school. A student may choose to make the interest-only payments on the unsubsidized loan. or allow the interest to be added to the loan principal and then pay both principal and interest after leaving school.

Federal Plus loans are available to parents of dependent students. These loans are made either by the school (Direct loan) or through a private lender. Parents are responsible for all interest charges. Repayment begins 60 days after loan disbursements.

The Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1992 mandated that a student can receive financial aid for study abroad if the student is enrolled in a program approved by the home institution. Moreover, the student would be eligible to receive "grants, loans, or work assistance without regard to whether the study abroad program is required as a part of the student’s degree."

Federal and state governments, foundations, private and public organizations are primary sources of financial aid. If you are planning to attend an overseas study program sponsored by another institution, the home institution through a written agreement between the schools might allow you to use your financial aid. But students should realize that policies vary and therefore, they should check with their study abroad advisors and financial aid administrators.