Last week, we discussed a few financial aid dos and don’ts to consider before you get to college. The first thing we mentioned was “do your research” to find out what types of financial aid is available to you. If you did your homework, GREAT! If not, it’s cool. We have you covered. We did all the research to provide you with the more common financial aid types and how they are different from one another. 

Grants – Money Given

Grant money is money that doesn’t have to be paid back. It is often given to students that exhibit strong financial need. The eligibility requirements differ across the board but, many of them are dependent upon circumstances like cost of attendance, school status and school attendance. This money usually comes from state or federal financial aid that is given directly to the college or university. Your FAFSA will take all the information you put in and determine if you are eligible for any grants.

Scholarships – Money Earned

Scholarship money is also money that does not have to be paid off, as long as you maintain the necessary requirements. Eligibility for scholarships can be based on a multitude of things such as academic, athletic or extracurricular merit, ancestral background or group affiliation. Scholarship money is awarded by a number of funding sources. Your FAFSA will show you exactly what scholarships you are eligible for based on your parental and academic information. You can search on credible websites like fastweb.com for scholarship opportunities available to anyone for anything. 

Loans - Money Borrowed

Unlike scholarships and grant money, loans must be paid back after graduate or after you drop below the half-time mark. They have no interest and low interest options available as well as a plethora of repayment options to fit your budget. It is important to be cognoscente about the amount of loans you take out. There are heavy consequences when the loans are not paid back.  

Work Study – Money Worked For

Work study allows undergraduate and graduate students that exhibit financial need to work part time jobs allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses. This option is only available at schools that participate in the Federal Work Study program. Students can check with their school’s financial aid office to find out if their school participates. The number of hours a student can work will depend on how much work study was awarded, class schedule and academic progress. Students will earn at least the federal minimum wage and will have the opportunity to earn more depending on the type of work and the student’s experience level. 


It may be a little bit easier to determine what options are best for you when looking for financial aid now that you have a better understanding of what they are. Remember, you can always visit the Office of Student Financial Assistance for more information regarding the different types of financial aid.

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