By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
It is unrealistic to expect most students to pay all of their college expenses out of pocket, so using financial aid is the most common method of payment. Billions of dollars a year in financial aid are provided to college students.
This financial aid falls into three different categories. Some student aid is need-based; other types of financial aid are merit-based or available to all students (excluding extenuating circumstances, such as legal troubles).
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Federal Perkins Loan Program
- Federal Scholarships
- State Scholarships
- Private Scholarships
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Private Loans
Obviously, need-based and merit-based aid are the options you should explore first. In most cases, these types of aid do not need to be repaid.
Completing college with as little loan debt as possible should be your main goal, so your financial aid searches should focus on need-based and merit-based aid. Even if you are in a strong financial situation, you can still qualify for merit-based aid.
Check with your institution to make sure it supports the aid programs you want to utilize. All-inclusive aid should be utilized as a last option.
If you have any questions about your eligibility for these types of financial aid, contact a financial aid adviser or visit the U.S. Department of Education website. You can also do research on the Internet to find out if you are eligible for financial aid.