I just got a Stafford loan that covered Fall retroactively, which means I get half of the loan in check form, since I paid all my expenses out of pocket for Fall...just waiting for the check. Spring gets dispersed soon and the balance after semester charges will come to me in check form. As long as you remain enrolled at least half time, you don't have to start paying back Staffords until 7 months post-graduation. I got the max amount for the 2007-2008 year and payments upon graduation will be a minimium of 100 dollars. Staffords are based on enrollment and financial need for subsidized, unsubsidized is based on enrollment only.
Unless you're defaulted on a prior student loan, you're almost certain to get one. Worked for me and it feels good not to worry were tuition and fees will come from. In fact, there may be enough left over from this year to cover a few more semesters before I need another.