Types of Federal Financial Aid

  • Pell Grant: The Pell Grant is a federal grant awarded to students for post-secondary education at colleges, universities, and career schools. Pell Grants are awarded on the basis of financial need and don’t have to be repaid unless you withdraw from school and owe a refund.


    State Aid: this is primarily available to students who attend a college in their state of residence. These funds are limited, so the earlier you apply the greater the chance that you may qualify for this kind of aid. 


    Federal Work-Study: A federal student aid program that provides part-time employment while the student is enrolled in school to help pay his or her education expenses. The student must seek out and apply for work-study jobs at the school they attend. The student will be paid directly for the hours he or she works and the amount he or she earns cannot exceed the total amount awarded by the school for the award year. The availability of work-study jobs varies by school.


    Federal Direct Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized): these are available to undergraduate students attending college at least half-time. These will need to be repaid regardless of whether you finish your education.

    • Subsidized Loans: These are loans for undergraduate students with financial need, as determined by your cost of attendance minus expected family contribution and other financial aid (such as grants or scholarships). Subsidized Loans do not accrue interest while you are in school at least half-time or during deferment periods.


    • Unsubsidized Loans: These are loans for both undergraduate and graduate students that are not based on financial need. Eligibility is determined by your cost of attendance minus other financial aid (such as grants or scholarships). Interest is charged during in-school, deferment, and grace periods. Unlike a subsidized loan, you are responsible for the interest from the time the unsubsidized loan is disbursed until it’s paid in full. You can choose to pay the interest or allow it to accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). Capitalizing the interest will increase the amount you have to repay.