Financial aid is designed to help individuals meet their educational expenses when their own resources are not sufficient. A student who believes that his/her own family resources are not sufficient to pay for all costs of attendance (tuition, room and board, books, transportation, etc.) should apply for financial aid through the Financial Aid Office of the college he/she plans to attend.
There are three types of aid available:
- Grants or Scholarships - Also called gift aid, grants don't have to be repaid, and you don't need to work to earn them. Grant aid comes from federal and state governments and from individual colleges. Scholarships are usually awarded based on merit or other specific criteria.
- Work-study - Work-study aid helps students pay for education costs such as books, supplies, and personal expenses. Work-study is a federal program that provides students with part-time employment to help meet their financial needs and give them work experience.
- Loans - Most financial aid comes in the form of loans to students or parents. This is aid that must be repaid. Most loans that are awarded based on financial need are low-interest loans sponsored by the federal government. Some of these loans are subsidized by the government so no interest accrues until the student begins repayment after graduation. (Not all are qualified for this type of loan.)