7 Types of financial aid

Susan Fernandez April 04 2022

As a student, you may be wondering what types of financial aid are available to you. Here is a rundown of the most common types of financial aid.

What are the 6 types of financial aid?

A number of financial assistance sources are accessible to assist you to pay for college or career school tuition. Some programs are based on financial need, while others target specific groups of students or courses of study.

Here are the six types of financial aid available:

  • Grants:

A grant is a type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Grants are usually based on financial needs. The federal government, your state government, colleges, and other private organizations give out grants. Grants are usually given to students who are enrolled in or planning to enroll in college. The requirements for getting different grants may vary, but you will typically need to demonstrate your financial need, academic merit, and/or enrollment status.

Some of the most common requirements include being a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, having a high school diploma or equivalent, and be enrolled in an eligible program at an accredited school. Some of the most popular grants include the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH). Overall, grants are a great way to finance your education since you don’t have to worry about repaying the money.

  • Scholarships:

Another great source of financial aid is scholarships. Like grants, scholarships are usually given based on merit or financial need. Many organizations and private individuals offer scholarships to students who demonstrate academic excellence, artistic talent, athletic ability, community service, or other unique skills or qualities. Students can apply for and win multiple scholarships, so it’s important that you start your scholarship search early in order to maximize your chances of success.

Some popular scholarship sources include government agencies like the U.S. Department of Education and colleges themselves, as well as nonprofits and philanthropic organizations like the Gates Millennium Scholars Program and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. The peculiarities of scholarships vary, so be sure to carefully read all application requirements and deadline information.

  • Work-study:

A work-study program is a type of financial aid that combines part-time employment with college attendance. The money you earn from your work-study job goes directly toward paying for school expenses, such as tuition and books. Most students who participate in work-study programs are eligible for on-campus jobs, though some off-campus community service positions may be available as well.

This is an especially attractive option for students who want to minimize their debt load or save money while they study and also gain valuable career experience at the same time. Work-study jobs are typically low-wage and may not cover all of your college costs, but they can help you to offset some of the expenses associated with attending school. The requirements for work-study eligibility often include demonstrating financial need, be enrolled in an eligible program at an accredited school, and maintaining satisfactory academic progress throughout your studies.

  • Loans:

Any student who needs financial assistance to pay for college or career school may take out federal student loans. Loans are a type of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest. The U.S. Department of Education is the largest provider of student loans, though private lenders also offer loan products to supplement federal options. Federal student loans usually have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms than private loans, so they should be your first choice when you’re considering borrowing money for school. You can apply for federal student loans by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Some popular federal loan programs include the Stafford Loan and the Perkins Loan. Like any loan, loans for students should only be used as a last resort when all other funding options have been exhausted.

  • Aid for Military Families:

If you or your family member is a veteran of the U.S. military, you may be eligible for specialized financial aid programs. For example, if you’re currently serving in the armed forces or are a veteran, you may qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides tuition assistance for college and certification programs as well as living expenses and additional funds for books. If you have a spouse who’s an active duty service member or military spouse with unique career needs, consider applying to receive MyCAA funding from the Department of Defense (DOD).

This program helps support spouses by offering up to $4,000 in financial assistance toward education and training pursuits that lead to employment in portable career fields like teaching, medical coding, and cybersecurity. The requirements to qualify for these programs are complex, so it’s best to get in touch with a financial aid counselor as soon as possible if you think you may be eligible.

  • Aid for International Study:

If you’re an international student, you may also have access to scholarships and grants that can help pay for your college education. There are many organizations around the world that offer financial aid specifically for students from other countries, so be sure to research funding opportunities in your country of citizenship as well as those available in your host nation. Some popular scholarship programs geared toward international students include the Fulbright Program and the Worldwide Fund for Nature Global Grants Conservation Scholarship.

In addition, there are many colleges that sponsor international scholarships for study abroad or advanced degree pursuits at their institutions. To learn more about what types of assistance may be available to you, reach out to admissions staff at a school you’d like to attend – they will often be familiar with funding opportunities specifically for students from your country.

  • Aid and Other Resources From the Federal Government:

In addition to the above types of aid, there are several other government-sponsored programs that provide financial assistance for college students. Programs like the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and the Federal Work-Study Program often have stricter eligibility requirements than other forms of federal student aid, so it’s important to know whether you meet those requirements before applying. Also, these programs may have limited funding available, so it’s important to apply for them as early as possible.

What are 4 factors that affect your financial aid?

Your eligibility is based on your Expected Family Contribution, the year you will be attending school, your enrollment status, and the cost of education at the institution you plan to attend. The financial aid office at your college or career school will evaluate how much financial assistance you qualify for. Additionally, your financial aid offer will also depend on the availability of funds at the college or career school.

Other factors that can affect your eligibility for financial aid include your age, citizenship status, and academic record. Overall, there are many different factors that may impact your ability to receive financial aid for higher education. It is important to be aware of these factors and understand how they could impact your ability to pay for school so that you can plan accordingly.

Some other potential factors that may affect your financial aid include changes to your family income and/or assets over time, fluctuations in the cost of college tuition and fees, unexpected life events such as job loss or illness, changes to federal legislation around student loans and other forms of financial support, and the availability of funding from your school or other organizations. It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the world of financial aid so that you can make informed decisions about how to pay for college.

What is financial aid based on?

Grants, scholarships, loans, and employment are just a few of the ways in which you may get financial assistance for college. Some funding is "need-based," which implies that institutions' offers are only determined by your and your family's capacity to pay for school. The greater your and your family's "financial need," the more financial aid you qualify for. Other types of aid are "merit-based," and these awards are given to students based on their academic achievements or other personal merits, regardless of financial need.

In order to be eligible for federal student aid, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a tool that collects information about your and your family's finances in order to determine how much money you are able to contribute toward college costs. Your expected family contribution (EFC) is then used to calculate your financial need, which is the difference between the cost of attendance at your chosen school and your EFC.

The information from your FAFSA is also used to determine your eligibility for federal grants, work-study, and loans. You may also use the FAFSA to apply for state- and institution-sponsored financial aid. It is important to note that you must reapply for financial aid each year that you are in college in order to remain eligible.

Is FAFSA free money?

It is not the money itself that concerns us. However, by filling out the FAFSA, a student may receive aid from several sources for a variety of purposes. Some of this cash is a taxpayer-funded gift; some must be earned through employment, and some must be repaid. Financial aid is based on a number of factors, including a student's financial need, academic performance, and citizenship status. Eligibility for federal student aid, in particular, is determined through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application takes into account information such as your family's income and assets, your age, and your educational and career goals.

Is it necessary to pay back my FAFSA if I do not qualify for federal aid?

Failing a class does not result in the need to repay any financial aid. However, it may jeopardize your chances of receiving renewal money next semester. If you do not achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress or SAP, your federal grant funding will be halted. Financial aid is based on your demonstrated financial need, academic performance, and citizenship status. In order to maintain eligibility for federal student aid, you must be enrolled at least half-time and make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). This means that you must be completing classes successfully with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.

In what order should you accept different types of financial aid?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the best approach will depend on your individual situation and financial needs. Generally speaking, it may be prudent to start by accepting any grants or scholarships that you are offered, as these forms of aid do not need to be repaid.

Free money goes first (e.g., scholarships, grants). It means that you do not have to repay the amount of money that you are awarded.

Next, you may want to consider taking out a low-interest student loan, as these typically offer repayment terms that can be more manageable than those associated with other types of loans. If you still need additional funding after exhausting these options, then you may want to explore work-study programs or private loans offered by banks and credit unions.

Next, earned money second (e.g., work-study) and third (e.g., student loans). This type of aid is dependent on your ability to work and earn the money yourself.

Finally, you may want to consider taking out a private loan to cover any remaining costs or gaps in funding that you have after pursuing all other avenues of financial support. Many private lenders offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms, making them an attractive option for students who still need additional funding after exhausting more traditional options.


With different types of financial aid available, it can be difficult to know where to start or how to prioritize your options. However, by taking the time to understand the different types of aid that are available and their respective features, you can make an informed decision about which option is best for you and your unique financial situation.