What are your financial aid choices?
Financial aid is money that helps you pay for school or training. Most students get money from one or more types of financial aid. This is used to pay for your tuition (school fees), books, or other costs.
Grants are awards you don't have to pay back. Grants mostly come from the government, such as the Federal Pell Grant, or directly from the college you attend. Pell grants are available to students with great financial need, with awards of up to $6345 for 2020-21. Learn more by clicking on the links in the Resources box below.
A loan is money that you do have to pay back. Different types of loans have different rules. Find out about loan options by clicking on "Student loans" in the Resources box below.
Scholarships can come from a school, community group, business, or the government. You may have heard of sports scholarships, but you don't have to have a specific talent to qualify for a scholarship. Many are based on location, race, ethnicity, life experience, or other characteristics. Visit CareerOneStop's Scholarship Search (you'll see the link under Resources, below).
Work-study is on-campus employment offered through the school. It helps you earn money to pay for your education. See the link under Resources, below.
Students may receive a combination of these in a financial aid package that the school puts together after you've been accepted.
The first step to getting federal financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA helps determine if you can get financial aid. It also determines how much aid you are eligible to receive. Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1. Find the link under Resources, below.
Learn more about how a criminal conviction might affect aid.