There are four main types of financial aid for college students including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study funds.
Grants are a type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Offered by the federal and state government, as well as by some institutions, grants may be merit-based, need-based or student-specific. Here are a few we recommend:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarships
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Academic Competitiveness Grant (AGG)
- National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant)
Like grants, scholarships do not require repayment. They are typically offered by individual institutions and private organizations and can be awarded based on a number of factors, such as academic performance, athletic ability, religious affiliation, and race, among others.
Loans are money that you borrow to attend college. You must repay your loans with interest. The two main types of Stafford Federal Loans available for college students include:
- Subsidized Loans– Subsidized student loans are available for students who have demonstrated financial need. They have slightly better terms than unsubsidized student loans because the US Department of Education pays your interest while you are in school and for a six-month grace period after you graduate.
- Unsubsidized Loans– Unsubsidized loans are available to students regardless of financial need. Students are responsible for repaying interest during all periods.
There are also specialized student loans available, such as PLUS loans and Perkins Loans:
- PLUS Loans – PLUS loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for expenses not covered by other financial aid options.
- Perkins Loans– Perkins loans are school-based loans for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need.
A work-study program is a work program where you can earn money that helps you pay for school. Work-study programs provide students with federally funded jobs on campus or at other approved locations.