Types of Aid

Most financial aid awards fall within two categories:

"Gift aid," in the form of grants and scholarships, are awards that do not have to be repaid, though could have requirements to maintain them. 

"Self-help" refers to awards that require something in return from you. Awards include work-study and student loans. Work-study requires you to secure a part-time position, usually on campus, to receive your paycheck. Loans require repayment with interest.

Explanation of Types of Aid

You could be offered a financial aid package consisting of various types of aid. The rule is, free money first (scholarships and grants), then earned money (work-study), then borrowed money (federal student loans).

Work Study

Work-study is an on-campus job that lets you earn money based on how many hours you work.

You don't have to pay the money back, but you do have to work for it.


More about work study
Students studying in the library

Federal Student Loans

With all loans, you must repay the money with interest after graduation. Subsidized loans don’t start accruing interest until you leave school, so accept those before unsubsidized loans.

More about federal student loans
Student on laptop at Cypress Lake

Private Loans

Private loans come from banks and other private institutions. You’ll have to repay the money with interest, and the terms and conditions of the loan almost certainly will not be as good as those of a federal student loan.

More about private loans