Many colleges and programs offer financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, and loans to assist students during their education.
Financial aid comes in many forms. A great way to get started is to fill out the free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Please note, this application is completed each year you are in school. For more information on financial aid and how to apply, visit studentaid.gov
Scholarships and Grants
Scholarships and grants can be based on financial need or academic excellence and generally do not need to paid back. There are also scholarships available for specific groups of people, such as minorities, Native Americans, veterans, women, and others majoring in specific fields. Talk to your school’s financial aid department for a complete list of available scholarships and grants.
Unlike scholarships and grants, loans have to be repaid and accrue interest over time. Interest rates depend on where the loan comes from. Federal loans generally have a lower loan interest rate than loans from private institutions, like banks, making them cheaper overall.
Federal loans also have options during repayment, such as income-based repayment plans, as well as loan forgiveness under special circumstances, that are not usually available with private loans. All student loans, federal and private, are reported on your credit score.
Employer Tuition Programs
Some employers or unions can assist in funding. Ask your employer about tuition vouchers or fee repayment. Some employers or unions pay upfront, while others reimburse in full or with a percentage of the cost, after you have satisfactorily completed the course.
Student work-study can assist in paying for college. This generally helps full-time students, and is not for adult learners who are already working and attending college part-time. To qualify for a federal student work-study award, you must file a FAFSA form.