There are four main types of financial aid: 

  1. Grants. Grants are gift aid because you don’t have to pay them back. Grants come from federal and state governments and from colleges. Most grants are need-based, which means that they are usually given based on you or your family’s financial circumstances.  Click here to learn more. 
  2. Scholarships. They also do not have to be paid back. Scholarships come from governments, colleges, or private organizations. They may be awarded for academic or athletic ability, interest in a certain subject, or volunteer work. Some scholarships are given based on membership in an ethnic or religious group. Employers may also give scholarships to children of employees. Click here to learn more. 
  3. Work–Study Programs. You can get a paid part-time job through the federal work-study program to help you cover part of the cost of college. Work-study encourages community service work and work related to students’ course of study. Click here to learn more. 
  4. Loans. A loan is money borrowed from the government, a bank or a lending company. Loans must be paid back with an extra charge called interest. The federal government offers low–interest loans to students with financial need. Other lenders charge more interest.  Click here to learn more.