Types of financial aid
Grants are financial aid dollars you don’t have to pay back. You can get them from the federal government or your state government, and you typically have to have a financial need to qualify.
Scholarships also are financial aid dollars you don’t have to pay back, but they’re typically based on your merit rather than your financial need. You can get scholarships from your college or university or private organizations, such as the local Elks Lodge.
Work-study is a federal program that funds part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with a financial need. If you qualify for work-study, you’ll need to find an eligible work-study job on or near your campus and work to earn those dollars.
Federal student loans are fixed-interest-rate loans from the government. The direct loan program is the main federal loan program. Undergraduate students can borrow direct subsidized or unsubsidized loans. Graduate students can borrow direct unsubsidized or direct PLUS loans, and parents can borrow direct PLUS loans.
Private student loans are fixed- or variable-rate loans from a bank or credit union. To qualify, you typically need a good credit score or a co-signer who has good credit. Your rate will vary depending on your or your co-signer’s credit.