The Basics: Financing College

Getting accepted into college is only the beginning of the journey. Once you know where you’ll be going to school, you’ll need to determine how you’re going to pay for it. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you pay. Here’s a quick rundown on the different types of financial aid out there:

FREE MONEY (doesn’t need to be paid back)

Grants and scholarships are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are slight difference between the two.
Scholarships – These are usually awarded based on something you do. Organizations award scholarships based on academics, community involvement, extracurricular activities, or other merit-worthy achievements.
Grants – Grants are awarded based on financial need. They are available from the federal and state governments, schools and private organizations.

BORROWED MONEY (doesn’t need to be paid back until later)

The largest form of student aid is composed of student loans. These are especially useful if scholarships and grants are not enough to cover all of your college expenses.
Federal Perkins Loan – Awarded to students with exceptional financial need. The loan is made with government funds, and your school contributes a share. You must repay this loan to your school.
Federal Stafford Loan – Federally guaranteed, simple-interest loans in which you borrow money in your own name. The federal government may pay your interest while you’re in school, and repayment is delayed until after graduation. This loan does not require a credit check.
Federal Parent PLUS Loan – Parents of undergraduate students can use this low-interest loan to borrow up to 100% of their student’s college costs, including tuition and living expenses.

MONEY YOU EARN (work your way through college)

Work Study – The Federal Work Study (FWS) Program provides jobs both on- and off-campus to students who demonstrate a need for financial aid. Funding for work-study positions is limited and is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
When exploring your financial aid options, it’s easy to see that free money is the best way to go. Start your search by looking for scholarship and grant opportunities, as well as work study programs.

For more information of student financial aid, click here.