About Financial Aid
Funding for financial aid may come from the federal government, state government, private sources, and from the colleges and universities themselves. Financial assistance consists of several types: grants and scholarships, loans and work-study.
The goal for many students is to maximize scholarships and grants and minimize loans.
Scholarships and Grants
Scholarships and grants are outright gifts of money. Most of the time, they are based upon need. Sometimes, though, they are awarded for academic excellence and promise, or for special achievements or abilities. This is also known as gift aid.
Loans are a significant part of most aid packages. They must be repaid, but most often not until after graduation. Interest rates on these loans are usually lower than on other types of loans. The payback period on college loans varies from two or three years up to 30 years.
Work-study is part-time employment for a student usually on-campus, to help with college expenses.