Federal and Private Funds for a Massachusetts Education
Mass Students: Choose Your Financial Weapons
You are a graduating high school student in Massachusetts about to enter college. But, you have questions: “where can I find information about scholarship or loan opportunities? Is there any program specifically for me?” Luckily, there is! Massachusetts has a few programs to help soon-to-be college students gather all the important information they need before taking the next step in their education.
Massachusetts Board of Higher Education
The first agency you should be aware of is the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. Their mission is to make sure that every resident of Massachusetts has the best opportunity to acquire higher education. This will lead to them having a more fulfilling life and allow them to better contribute to the civic life, economic development, and social progress of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They are the main source of all information regarding financial planning and financial aid. One of their branches is the Massachusetts Office of Student financial Assistance.
OSFA is responsible for overseeing all of the state funded financial aid programs. They also engage in early awareness initiatives so that students can start preparing early and start saving for college. Students can go to this department for advice on financial planning for college, different types of loans and scholarships, and how to avoid scams.
No-Interest Student Loans from the MBHE
The Massachusetts No Interest Loan program is a unique opportunity for students who desperately need financial aid. This loan gives eligible students zero interest loans so they can meet the costs of education. This means that you only have to pay back what you borrow; not a penny more! One great feature of the No Interest Loan program is that students have up to 10 years to repay their loans. To be eligible for the No Interest Student Loan students simply must prove they have a need for financial assistance, be a legal Massachusetts resident, and be enrolled full time at any participating post-secondary institution in Massachusetts.
Here’s how the No Interest Loan works:
To apply for the No Interest Loan, all students have to do is fill out their FAFSA. There is no credit-check necessary. This is great, especially for students who have no credit at all. As stated before, students simply need to show they need financial aid, be a Massachusetts resident and be a full time student at a participating college or university in Massachusetts. Other stipulations require that students must be pursuing their first bachelors degree, not be in default on any federal or state loans, and maintain good academic standing while attending school. The minimum amount awarded is $1,000, and the maximum amount is $4,000 per academic year. This can lead to up to $20,000 of direct funding!
Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority Offers New Fixed Rate Student Loans
Another stellar organization that offers financial assistance for those attending college in Massachusetts is the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority. This not-for-profit entity was created to help students and families that are either residents of Massachusetts or are attending a college or university in Massachusetts prepare for college. They strive to make access into college easier and more affordable through low-cost financing alternatives, college savings programs, and by offering expertise on financial planning, saving and paying for higher education.
MEFA offers Fixed Rate Student Loans to those seeking education in Massachusetts or who are Massachusetts residents attending a college or university out-of-state. They offer a few repayment options so you can choose the program that best meets your needs. Here are some of the features of the MEFA Fixed Rate Loan program:
- You can choose which repayment option fits you best- immediate, monthly payments after graduation, interest-only payments while still in school, or deferred payments after graduation.
- The fixed interest rates allow students to know exactly how much they need to pay back during each payment period.
- All borrowers receive the same low fixed interest rate for the loan. This ensures that nobody gets a better or worse deal than the next student.
- Step-up repayment strategy offers a lower interest rate while students are still in school- this allows students to keep their monthly payments low during college.
Repaying Massachusetts Education Loans
Student loans are a great asset when it comes to affording college. However, mismanagement of loans can lead to more problems than you started with. If you miss or make late payments on any loan your credit score can drop dramatically. This will hurt you later in life when you go to make big-ticket purchases such as a car or house. Multiple loans make the repayment process even more difficult. Fortunately, there are Consolidation Loan Programs to turn your multiple payments into one.