Applying for financial aid is an important and necessary part of the college application process.
There are two general categories of aid to be aware of:
• Need-based aid: depends on your family’s financial situation
• Merit-based aid: depends on your academic achievements
To be considered for need-based aid, you must file all financial aid applications, such as FAFSA, TAP, and PELL, on time.
You should apply for all the financial assistance you’re eligible for, like scholarships, grants, and federal loans, before considering a private, alternative, non-federal loan.
Private loans could come from a bank or other education loan provider. Usually, interest rates, terms, conditions, and eligibility requirements will vary with private loans.
Federal loans, unlike scholarships and grants, require that you pay back the amount you receive, along with interest. The interest rates are generally lower than what private loan providers offer. Please remember that for most students, loans are divided equally between the fall and spring so the amount you accept will be divided between two terms. Learn more at www.studentaid.gov
Your college’s financial aid package may provide Work-Study eligibility in addition to scholarships and loans. If you’re eligible to participate in the Federal Work-Study Program, you will be given a set amount of money you can earn through approved jobs that provide you with 15 to 20 hours of work each week. Work-Study jobs are not guaranteed. Your Work-Study earnings will be paid directly to you. Generally, these earnings are used for books, transportation, and personal expenses.
Exploring Non-Federal Private Loans
A non-federal private loan may be appropriate if:
• You still have a difference between the cost of attendance and the total aid you received after applying of the maximum amount of federal loans suggested to you.