Identify Financial Aid
STEP 4: Identify sources of financial aid

College and university coursework is expensive. You need to decide how to support yourself and pay for your education. Financial aid can help. Financial aid is usually based either on need or merit (like achievement or exceptional skill or experience).

Types of Financial Aid
There are three basic types of financial aid available: grants, scholarships, and loans. The Federal Student Aid website has valuable information on the following types of aid, and related resources to help you find and apply for financial aid.

Grants are financial aid that does not need to be paid back. It is often based on need. The United States government grants money for higher education. View a summary of grants provided by the federal government for students attending colleges and universities.

Some colleges and universities participate in a federally funded Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). This grant is administered by the financial aid office of a participating college or university; check with each institution. The FSEOG is targeted for students with the greatest financial need.

Scholarships are like gifts that do not need to be repaid. They are offered by a variety of organizations (e.g., organizations, schools, businesses) and are often based on merit. Conduct a scholarship search using the link provided.

A loan is money you receive that must be repaid, generally with interest. The federal government pays the interest on some loans while you are in school. Special education teachers can have their federal loans cancelled or forgiven if they meet specific requirements. The Federal Student Aid website has more information on the conditions for student loan forgiveness or cancellation.

Applying for Financial Aid
You will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for most types of financial aid. You will need to complete the FAFSA each year you need financial aid. Filing the FAFSA is free. You should not pay anyone or any organization to file the FAFSA. Check with your chosen institution's financial aid office for assistance.