Paying For College

  • Grants

    Grants can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization. Grants are also known as “gift aid”, meaning they are FREE money and do not require you to pay them back. Learn about the various types of grants below:

    • Federal Pell Grant is usually awarded only to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor's, graduate, or professional degree. For the 2020-2021 academic year, the maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,345.
    • The FSEOG program is administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school. Not all schools participate. Check with your school's financial aid office to find out if the school offers the FSEOG.


    Scholarships are financial aid awards designed to help students pay for college. These awards differ from student loans in that they don’t have to be repaid. Scholarships can vary on how they’re given:

    • A one-time check.
    • Renewable and provide money for students each semester
    • Renewable and provide money for students each semester school year


    Subsidized Loans

    •  In short, Subsidized Loans have slightly better terms to help students with financial aid are available to undergraduate students with financial need. Your school determines the amount you can borrow, and the amount may not exceed your financial need. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan while you’re in school at least half-time, for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period*), and during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).


    • Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need. Your school determines the amount you can borrow based on your cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive. You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods. If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).

    Direct PLUS Loan

    • The U.S. Department of Education makes Direct PLUS Loans to eligible parents and graduate or professional students through schools participating in the Direct Loan Program. Note: A Direct PLUS Loan is commonly referred to as a parent PLUS loan when made to a parent, and as a grad PLUS loan when made to a graduate or professional student, which means the parent is solely responsible for repayment of the loan. This loan option is least desired and should be used with extreme caution.