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How Financial Aid Works


Financial Aid can help you pay for your studies at any approved college. It is provided by various agencies, including the federal and state governments, private organizations, and the college itself. Financial Aid is meant to supplement your family's ability to pay for college costs: tuition/fees, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and other education expenses. Financial aid eligibility is based on financial need or some other standard of eligibility.

 

Financial aid is any assistance with paying for tuition, books and supplies, and falls into one of two categories:
  • The kind you don’t have to pay back (grants and scholarships), and
  • The kind you must pay back (student loans)

Grants and Scholarships


Also called gift aid, grants do not have to be repaid. Grant aid comes from federal and state governments and from individual colleges. Scholarships are usually awarded based on merit.

Loans


Most financial aid comes in the form of loans, aid that must be repaid. Most loans that are awarded based on financial need are low-interest loans sponsored by the federal government.