There are three main types of federal loans that are available for attending college. They are:

Stafford Loans: These loans are offered in both subsidized and unsubsidized formats. With a subsidized loan the government pays the interest while you're in school. Conversely, with unsubsidized loans you are responsible for the interest, although generally not until you graduate.

Perkins Loans: Perkins loans are offered to students who demonstrate acute financial need. This government loan is completely subsidized, with the government paying the interest while you complete your degree and for up to nine months after you graduate.

PLUS Loans: PLUS is an acronym for Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students. The two types of loans mentioned above are student loans and are the students responsibility to pay back. The PLUS loan is taken out by the parent(s) and is their responsibility to repay. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is the amount you need to supplement the other financial aid you're receiving.

Both Stafford and Perkins loans are distributed directly to the bursar's office of your school. The loan monies do not come to you. This is true of most financial aid money with the exception of scholarship awards which are often given directly to the student by the sponsoring organization.