What types of financial aid is available for college? You have many options.
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Financial aid helps you pay or offset the cost of college. Aid to cover the cost of attending comes in many forms. From federal financial aid to scholarships, those seeking to attend college has many options but it requires a great deal of time and work to maximized your financial aid package. The first step is completing the FAFSA online at StudentAid.gov.
Financial Aid Categories
There are three basic categories of financial aid:
- Scholarships and grants which are called gift aid that is based on merit or financial need and does not need to be repaid. These types of aid is often given by state governments or private organizations.
- Loans in which loans require repayment of borrowed funds with interest. Student loans are offered by federal government and private lenders.
- Work-study which requires the exchange of your time for a paycheck to offset college expenses. These jobs are offered by the college attended.
Types of Financial Aid
There are various types of financial aid available to pay for college. The aid is offered by:
- Federal government
- State government
- Private (community, religious, cultural associations, corporations, alumni groups, etc)
- Institutional (high schools, colleges, universities)
The following financial aid is available to first year students to those seeking graduate level study.
Federal Aid Programs
Federal programs are based on financial need and are the largest single source of financial aid for college. These aids can be in the form of federal loans or grants. Learn how to maximize your federal aid package.
Funds loaned through the government, lending institution or college. Interest rates vary by program. For federal loans, qualifying is based on need. Loan programs also are available to eligible parents to help with college expenses of their qualifying children. For private student loans, your credit history and ability to pay is assessed. Learn more about private student loans.
State Aid Programs
Most states support various need-based and merit student aid programs. Generally, eligibility for state need-based programs follows the federal guidelines and typically given as grants.
Grants and Scholarships
These are awards based on merit or merit plus need and don’t have to be repaid. Learn best tips to search for scholarships.
The military offers several options to help you pay for college.
With work-study, students are given jobs to earn money toward their education while they are enrolled in school. Students can sometimes get jobs related to their program of study.
What are Your Next Steps
- Read more about how to complete FAFSA. The Federal Application for Federal Student Aid is the first step in determine your student aid eligibility.
- Learn about the differences between federal and private loans.
- Prequalify for private student loans to cover additional costs.