Financial Aid Options
Covering the cost of school is difficult for most students and they generally have to tap a number of resources to get all of the funding they need. Students may have to take out federal loans and private loans to supplement contributions from parents, from their own personal savings and income, and from any scholarship awards they won. Sports medicine students who have a strong academic and professional background and are resourceful should be able to cover the necessary costs.
Federal Loans and Grants
By far the most common type of college loan is the Federal Stafford Loan. These are fixed-rate loans, generally with lower than average interest rates – as low as 3.4 percent. Stafford loans do not take credit history into account when determining how much to award, so nearly all students in the United States are eligible for them to some degree. In order to apply for Stafford loans, students must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at the beginning of each year. This form determines a student's and family's financial need and is a critical document for all of those who are interested in any type of financial aid. Loan repayment schedules begin a few months after students graduate.
Low-income students are also sometimes eligible for federal grants, like the Pell Grant. This is a fund that is given to students to cover the cost of tuition, and it does not need to be repaid.
Private loans are offered through a number of funding institutions, such as Sallie Mae and Citibank. Private loaners do take credit into account, so not all students are able to apply for such loans. They also have higher interest rates than federal loans, so most students only seek out these options as a last resort, to help cover any remaining cost of tuition and housing. Signing for a loan with a cosigner can improve a student's chances of approval and help them get a lower interest rate.
There are plenty of private scholarship opportunities available to all types of undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S. Some of them take academic merit into account, others are based on ethnicity or gender, others are based on financial need, and still others are awarded on the basis of personal interest and academic discipline. Therefore, students who are pursuing a degree with a major in sports medicine may be able to find scholarships that are specifically related to their discipline, often offered by individual school's programs or by third-party professional organizations.