Financial Aid

Written by Seth Cotterell
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Most students attending college today will require financial aid of some type or another. Financial aid enables students to attend college who might otherwise not be able to afford the cost of tuition and fees. Financial aid comes in several types and from many different sources. A combination of different types from different sources is often required to meet the full cost of attendance.

Types of Financial Aid

Scholarships are one type of financial aid. Scholarships are often based on individual achievement in some area. Grades, sports, theater, and band are common arenas of achievement where students can compete for available scholarship money. There are need-based scholarships as well that do not hinge on a student's personal achievements.

Grants are another type of financial aid. Grants are usually based on financial need because they do not have to be paid back. Some student loans are also based on financial need and these loans, called subsidized loans, do not begin to accumulate interest until after graduation. Other student loans are not need-based and subsequently these loans do begin to accumulate interest before graduation. These are called unsubsidized loans.

Sources of Financial Aid

There are also different sources for the various types of aid. The federal government is the primary source of student loans, grants, and scholarships. The federal government also awards work study opportunities and provides internships. Private organizations, such as banks and credit unions frequently provide additional financial help with their own student loans. Many businesses and other groups provide scholarships based on a variety of criteria.

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