Student Financial Aid Programs

November 2, 2018

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(This article first appeared in the November/Decmber 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

By Research & Education Department Director Joyce B. Robinson

As the cost of a college education continues to escalate, many parents do not have the funds or resources needed to assure their children receive a college education. However, there are numerous student aid programs available at the state and federal levels. For assistance contact the financial aid offices of colleges for information on the types of aid offered, the procedures, deadlines, and how and when the student will receive the aid. Inquire about each school’s satisfactory academic progress policy. Keep copies of the enrollment agreement, the school’s catalog, and all financial aid documents.

Union Sponsored Scholarships
Both the APWU and Union Plus offer scholarship programs:

  • E.C. Hallbeck Memorial Scholarships and Vocational Scholarships – Awarded by the APWU, a yearly scholarship to high school seniors who are the children and grandchildren of APWU members. For information, click here. You can also call 202-842-4215 to receive an application.
  • The Union Plus Scholarship Program – Awarded to union members and their families who want to begin or continue their post-secondary education at colleges or trade and technical schools. For more information, visit

Federal Student Aid Programs
Federal student aid programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Education and provide funds to students attending secondary schools. Not all schools participate in federal student aid programs; check with the college’s financial aid office. Programs offered include:

  • Federal Work-Study – Provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial needs. The program is available to full-time or parttime students. Check with the school’s financial aid office about its Federal Work-Study Program. 
  • Direct Subsidized Loan – For undergraduate students with financial need. For loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2018, and before July 1, 2019, interest rate is 5.05%. Interest is not charged on the loan during certain periods, such as when you’re in school. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is the lender and receives payments. Loans are granted up to $5,500 yearly.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan – For undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree students; financial need is not required. For loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2018, and before July 1, 2019, 5.04% interest rate for loans made to undergraduate students, and 6.6% interest rate for loans made to graduate and professional degree students. Students are responsible for interest during all periods. DOE is the lender and receives payments. Loans are granted up to $20,500 (less any subsidized amounts received for same period) depending on grade level and dependency status.
  • Direct PLUS Loan – For parents borrowing money to pay for their dependent undergraduate child’s education, and for graduate or professional degree students. Financial need is not required. For loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 and before July 1, 2019, interest rate is 7.6%. Borrower must have good credit reviews. DOE is the lender and receives payments. The maximum amount loaned is the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received by the student.

To be considered for federal student aid for the 2018-2019 award year, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between January 1, 2018 and midnight Central Time, June 30, 2019. Many states and colleges have earlier deadlines for applying for state and institutional financial aid. Find your state’s deadline at In addition, check with your college about its deadlines. For help completing the FAFSA visit For additional information, contact the United States Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Information Center toll free at 1-800-433-3243.

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