WHAT IS FINANCIAL AID? Financial aid is money for education (4-year or 2-year public or private institution, career school, or trade school) that comes from sources other than the family. It is meant to supplement what the family can contribute to the total costs involved in attending school. Federal aid covers school expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid can also help pay for a computer and for dependent care. There are three categories of federal aid: grants, work-study, and loans. This resource, Financial Aid Basics, produced by the Scholarship Foundation is a great resource.
Federal Pell Grant: It is available almost exclusively to the undergraduates. The maximum award for the 2018-2019 school year is $5,920. The amount you receive depends on your demonstrated need, the cost of attendance at your institution of choice, among other criteria. Grants are a form of financial assistance that does not need to be repaid. Learn more about Federal Pell Grants
Federal Work Study While schools may handle Federal Work Study (FWS) differently, the FWS program allows students to hold part-time positions and use the money they earn to help pay tuition costs. Students will earn at least minimum wage for their work. Jobs are usually located on campus, but may also be located in the community at a not-for-profit organization related to your area of study or community interest. While there are no annual or maximum award amounts, the amount earned in a FWS position cannot exceed your total FWS award. Federal Work Study is a form of financial assistance that does not need to be repaid. Learn more about Federal Work Study
Federal Direct Loans
- Subsidized Loan: Student must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible. Subsidized means the U.S. Department of Education pays interest while borrower is in school. Financial need must be demonstrated. Loan amounts vary based on the grade-level.
- Unsubsidized Loan: A student must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible. If you do not qualify for financial need, then you may receive an unsubsidized loan. Unsubsidized means the borrower is responsible for the interest accrued during the life of the loan. Your school determines the amount you can borrow.
- Loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid. Learn more about Federal Direct Loans
Federal Perkins Loan: These loans are low-interest federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Learn more about Federal Perkins Loans
PLUS Loans: This loan is available to PARENTS of dependent undergraduate students enrolled at least half time. Learn more about PLUS Loans