Understanding Financial Aid

Understanding Financial Aid

Financial Aid is money to help you pay for college. Almost every student that goes to college receives financial aid, but not everyone receives the same kind or amount.  The different types of financial aid available are listed below:


Grants are federal and state awards that are set aside for students who need the most help paying for college. Grants do not have to be paid back, meaning they are FREE MONEY.


Works Study is also provided by the federal government; however, instead of giving you the money, it requires that you work a part-time job during the school year at the college or with one of its partners. You earn this money, just like any other job, and do not have to pay it back after you graduate.

The difference between just having a job, and having a job with a federal work-study is that the federal government pays 75% of your wages.  This means the employer is motivated to hire you because he or she only has to pay the other 25%.  Universities love this, and oftentimes they will only hire students who have federal work-study, as their budgets may be too tight to pay full wages.

Student Loans

Student Loans are special loans provided by the federal government. Students borrow money to pay for college but do not have to repay until six months after they graduate. They typically have low-interest rates and flexible payment plans.  Most students pay for some of their costs using student loans.

Scholarships & Waivers     

Scholarships & Waivers are special awards that are given to students who show academic excellence or talents in areas like sports, music, community service, etc. Scholarships and waivers can come from the college or other places like businesses and community organizations. Scholarships and waivers do not have to be repaid.

The scholarship application will require additional information including academic transcripts, a resume, and letters of recommendation. Each scholarship has its own requirements so make sure you research them carefully and pay close attention to their deadlines.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

In order to receive any government financial aid students will have to provide information about their family finances on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. This information will determine how much help you need and which types of financial aid you can receive.