Federal Aid for Undergraduate Students

Federal Grants

The government provides grants based on your financial need. To determine your eligibility, you must complete the FAFSA form and get your Student Aid Index (SAI). The lower your SAI, the more likely you are to qualify for federal grants.

The amount of grant money you receive depends on your SAI and if your enrollment status as full-time or part-time student. To keep getting this aid, you must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements each term.

Types of need-based grants

  • Federal Pell Grant: The main federal grant program. Award amounts vary, but can be thousands per year.
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant: Additional grant for students with exceptional financial need. Award amounts vary, but are usually a few hundred to a thousand dollars per year.

federal work study

Federal work-study is a financial aid program that lets you earn money by working part-time on campus or with a qualified off-campus employer.

To be eligible, you need to complete the FAFSA application. If you qualify, you'll see a work-study award amount listed on your financial aid offer letter.

Important: This award is not cash credited to your student account. It is just the maximum you are allowed to earn through a work-study job. If you’re hired for a job, you will receive paychecks to your personal bank account based on the hours you work, which can be used to pay tuition or other expenses.

You can search and apply for open work-study positions through the student employment website. Jobs may range from office work to research assistant to campus services. The work-study program is a great way to offset college costs while gaining valuable experience. View Student Job Listings

teach grant

A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is different from other federal student grants because it requires you agree to complete a teaching service obligation as a condition for receiving the grant, and if you don't complete the service obligation, the TEACH Grant will be converted to a loan that you must repay, with interest.

HRSA Nursing Scholarship

USF has received a $3.25 million grant to provide scholarships to 25 nursing students through June 2025. The goal is to increase diversity and get more nurses working in underserved communities.

You may qualify if you are an African American, Latinx, or Vietnamese student who faced economic or educational challenges.

The scholarship is $13,000 per semester or $26,000 per year. To apply, you must:

  • Be a current or incoming full-time nursing student
  • Have at least a 2.9 GPA
  • Have at least 2 semesters left in the program
  • Have at least $26,000 in unmet financial need
  • If you meet the criteria, you'll get an email inviting you to apply. The application includes short essays about your situation and how the funds would help your nursing goals.

If selected, you must reapply each year and keep a 2.9 GPA. You'll be matched with a mentor and must meet monthly. After graduating, you must work in an underserved healthcare setting.

Federal Loans

Federal student loans are loans offered by the federal government to help students pay for college. After you graduate, you’ll pay back the money you borrowed, with interest. Federal loans are available to students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Financial need is not always required. Federal loan interest rates are typically lower than private loan rates, meaning you’ll have less to pay back after you graduate.

Learn more about origination fees and interest rates

Learn more about federal loan limits

Types of federal loans

  • Direct Subsidized Loan: For students with demonstrated financial need. If eligible, the subsidized portion of your loans will not begin to accruing interest until 6-months after you completed your first program or drop below half-time enrollment status. After the 6-months grace period has ended, the interest will begin to accrue.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: A type of loan that is not based on financial need. This means you can get this type of loan regardless of your income or assets, but interest starts accruing as soon as you take out the loan. You'll need to start paying back the loan after you graduate or once you are no longer enrolled in at least half-time, whichever comes first. You can receive both Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans up to the maximum amount each year based on your grade level and dependency status.
  • Parent PLUS Loan: Parents of dependent age undergraduates can apply for the Parent PLUS Loan. The maximum amount you can borrow per year is the full cost of attendance minus any other aid received. To qualify, the borrower undergoes a credit check and may need an endorser (co-signer) if their credit is not approved. Interest begins accruing as soon as the loan is disbursed. Parent take out the PLUS Loan in their name on behalf of their undergraduate student.
  • Federal Nursing Loan: Available to undergraduate (3rd and 4th year) nursing students with financial need. To qualify, you must fill out the FAFSA and demonstrate financial need. These loans have a fixed 5% interest rate and do not accrue interest while you are enrolled at least half time. You’ll need to start paying back your loan 9 months after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half time enrollment. You have up to 10 years to repay the loan.