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Career Tips & Advice

Are You Aware of What a Federal Student Loan is?

Concorde Staff
Concorde Staff
Updated October 25, 2019. The information contained in this blog is current and accurate as of this date.
health care education

A vast majority of our Concorde students have had to undergo the process of taking out a federal student loan to pursue their health care education. And, it can be a daunting, complicated process.

Thankfully, there is help available. The Federal Student Aid office of the U.S. Department of Education has a website that can be a most valuable resource in walking health care education applicants through the federal student loan process.

The website's home page contains five tabs across the top of the page that provide helpful information regarding how students pursuing health care education can prepare for college, the various types of student aid available, how to fill out the all-important FAFSA form and how to repay your student loans.

How to Get Started

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is the first step toward securing federal aid for college, career school or graduate school. More than $120 billion in grants, work-study funds, and loans are distributed by the Department of Education each year, but you must complete the FAFSA form to see if you qualify.

As the name suggests, the FAFSA is free and easier to fill out than ever before. It gives you access to federal financial aid. In addition, many states and colleges use FAFSA information to determine eligibility for state and school aid.

The 2020-21 FAFSA form became available Oct. 1, 2019. For the 2020-21 award year (which runs from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021). the 2019-20 form became available on Oct. 1, 2018, for the 2019-20 award year (which runs from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020). However, there are a few federal student aid programs that have limited funds, so the sooner your FAFSA form is submitted, the better.

You have to fill out a FAFSA form every year you're in school to stay eligible for federal student aid.

When do I have to pay my loans back

Understanding how to repay your federal student loans can save you a lot of time and money. The Federal Student Aid website also has a page devoted to helping students manage repayment and answer any questions.

The page discusses various repayment plans and finding the right plan for you. It even provides an estimator tool so that you can get an idea of what your payments will look like under various plans.

The site shows you how to make a payment, what to do if you can’t afford your payments and circumstances that might result in no longer having to repay your loan.

5 Tips to Help Pay Off Your Student Loans

To get out of debt, you need a plan. Then, you need to execute that plan. The good folks at recently published a five-step get-out-of-debt checklist that can help you leave that financial burden behind you, whether in health care education or any other walk of life.

As you work on this plan, suggests making all necessary adjustments to your budget along the way to make sure you don't overspend and slide back into debt. It's always also helpful to keep an emergency fund, to have some savings tucked away for a rainy day.

  1. Make a list. Having everything written out in front of you is the key to success. It might not seem as insurmountable if it's all laid out in black and white. Make a list of all your debts, including names of creditors and balances. List how much you'll need to pay in order to zero out the debt within three years.
  2. Lower your rates. Paying high-interest rates on existing debt only cause debts to mount. Check your credit score to see if you qualify for lower-interest loans. Consolidate your loans. And, this is especially true with health care education, check out income-based repayment plans at
  3. Get your number. Total the three-year payoff plan for all your credit cards. Add monthly payments for all other debts. Write down the result.
  4. Plan your strategy. Determine whether you can afford to pay the total monthly payment until your debt is paid off. Set up auto-pay for the required minimum for all debts except target debt. Once that target is paid off, set another target and proceed accordingly.
  5. Monitor and adjust. Once your plan is set, don't get too comfortable. Monitor your credit score each month to see if it improves. If you're not making progress, you'll have to be flexible enough to make adjustments.

Keep in mind that none of this is easy. Losing debt takes work. But perseverance can make it happen. Don't fret if you need to make adjustments. There is no quick fix, but if you can change your spending habits and behaviors, you can achieve your goals, both financial and with your health care education.

Concorde also has resources to help

Concorde's Student Loan Support Center also has personnel on hand to help students and graduates successfully navigate repayment of their federal student loans. Just give the SLSC a call at 1-800-861-9119 and a Student Loan Specialist will help.

You also can go to Concorde's financial aid page to see all the financial aid options we offer.