Congressman Scott Peters

Representing the 52nd District of California

Student Loans

Financial Aid for Students

Guides students through the process of locating and applying for financial aid. Prepared by the Congressional Research Service for Members of Congress, updated April 2015.

The basics: getting started


Student aid and where it comes from


Basic assistance categories:

  • Financial need-based
    Remember that students and their parents are responsible for paying what they can -- financial aid is a supplement, not a substitute, for family resources.

  • Non need-based
    Factors include academic excellence, ethnic background, or organization membership. Corporations may also offer assistance to employees and children.

Federal Student Aid:

States offer residents a variety of scholarships, loans, and tuition exemptions.

Colleges and universities provide some 20% of aid, most need-based. Check university Web sites and the institution’s financial aid office when you apply for admission.

Private foundations, corporations, and organizations offer scholarships or grants:
College Board Scholarship Search
Grants for Individuals

Targeted aid for special groups


Interested in public service?

Federal assistance programs seek to encourage people to work in geographic areas or professions where there’s a particular need (such as doctors in underserved areas); encourage underrepresented groups to enter a particular profession; and provide aid in exchange for services provided (such as military service).

Aid for private K-12 education: No direct federal assistance, check with schools themselves:

Repaying your loans


After college, the federal government has ways to help you repay your loans.

Department of Education 


Applying for Federal Financial Aid for the 2017-2018 School Year

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) & Online applications must be submitted by midnight Central Time, June 30, 2017. The deadline for filing FAFSA on the Web applications was June 30, 2017. These applications are no longer available.
Any corrections or updates must be submitted by midnight Central Time, September 9, 2017.
The deadline for correcting FAFSA on the Web applications was September 9, 2017. Since the deadline has passed, corrections can no longer be made. Cal Grant: Application deadline March 2, 2017.

Who is eligible to apply?

You are eligible to file the FAFSA if you are a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen.


How to apply:

Submit online application here: and submit your GPA verification either through your school automatically or by submitting a GPA verification form. Access GPA verification form here:


California Dream Act: Application deadline March 2, 2017

Who is eligible to apply?

If you are a non-citizen holding a Social Security card issued through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or for some other work authorization, you should fill out the California Dream Act Application.


How to apply:

Submit online application at: www.caldreamact.orgDo NOT fill out a FAFSA. 

Below are some useful links and information regarding frequently asked questions around student loans.

Can your office help me get my student loans forgiven or discharged?

While my office can make an inquiry on your behalf about the status of a pending case, or for clarification on the reasons for a denial, it would be inappropriate for me to compel any agency to decide an issue in your favor, or to overturn a decision that is final.

I’m having trouble repaying my student loans, what should I do?

There are several ways to keep your loans from accruing interest or going into default if you’re having trouble affording your payments:

  • Consolidation: Combine multiple loans from different lenders into one single loan to allow you to stretch out the period of time you make payments and lower your payment.
  • Income-driven repayment: Allows you to form payments based on your income.
  • Reaffirmation: You've received a loan amount in excess of an annual or aggregate loan limit and need to repay the amount according to the terms of the promissory note.
  • Repayment Plan Request: For Direct Loans only. Plans you request on this form allow you to stretch out the period of time you make payments, which can lower your payment. You will pay less per month, but you will probably increase the amount you pay over the life of the loan.
  • Deferment or Forbearance: You won't have to make a payment, but you usually will not be making progress toward forgiveness or paying back your loan. If you have unsubsidized loans and don't pay interest during deferment, it may be capitalized (added to your principal balance), and the amount you pay in the future will be higher.

To apply to any of these options, contact your loan servicer first. To access forms, go to:

Do I qualify for student loan forgiveness?

You must repay your federal student loans unless you fall under certain circumstances that can lead to your loans being forgiven, cancelled, or discharged.  For an overview of the provisions for discharge applications, visit:

I think I qualify for loan forgiveness, how do I apply?

If you are ready to apply for loan forgiveness, contact your loan servicer. If you don’t know who your loan servicer is, visit: . If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, contact the school where you received a Federal Perkins Loan. 

Can I stop paying my student loans if I’m applying for discharge?

Until your student loan discharge is approved, you need to continue paying your student loans or you will start accruing additional interest or go into default.

I’m a Public Service Employee; do I qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)?

Full-time Employment (at least 30hrs/week) with the following types of organizations qualifies for PSLF:

  • Government organizations (federal, state, local, tribal)
  • Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • AmeriCorps or Peace Corps (serving in a full-time position)

And, who have made 120 qualifying monthly. A qualifying monthly payment is a payment that you make:

  • after October 1, 2007;
  • under a qualifying repayment plan(income-drive repayment or 10-year standard repayment);
  • for the full amount due as shown on your bill;
  • no later than 15 days after your due date; and
  • while you are employed full-time by a qualifying employer.