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Financial Aid Categories & Sources
More than half of college students receive some sort of assistance to help pay for college. Understanding the various types of financial aid is the first step to exploring your options.
Categories of Financial Aid
- Need-Based: Students may receive need-based aid when they do not have adequate resources to pay for college and meet specific financial and other eligibility criteria.
- Non-Need-Based: Non-need-based aid is not based on financial eligibility Types of Assistance (for both need-based and non-need-based aid, typically with these features):
- Grants –A gift, no re-payment required
- Scholarships - A gift, no re-payment required
- Loans – Must be repaid.
- Need-based student loans usually do not have to be repaid while you are in school and typically they carry lower interest rates than most other loans.
- Non-need-based loans also usually do not have to be repaid while you are a student, but unlike need-based student loans, interest will accrue during the time you are in school.
- Employment – Many schools offer work-study programs or assist students with part-time and summer jobs on or off campus to help earn money to offset expenses.
Sources of Financial Aid
- Private: Non-profit groups, corporations, foundations, community organizations, wealthy individuals, religious groups, civic clubs, affinity groups
- Institutional: College or University (school’s financial aid office)
- State: State agency
- Federal: U.S. Department of Education