The U.S. Department of Education awards about $150 billion every year to help millions of students pay for college.
Grants are typically awarded on the basis of need and generally, do not have to be repaid. Federal Pell Grants are usually awarded to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor's degree. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award for the 2016-2017 award year is $5,550. Students can receive the Federal Pell Grant for up to the equivalent of 12 semesters.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. The amount of the award is determined by the college's financial aid.
Loans consist of money that the student borrows to help pay for college, and must be repaid (plus interest). There are two federal student loan programs.
The Federal Perkins Loan Program is a campus-based program that provides low-interest loans to undergraduate and graduate students.
The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program enables students and parents to borrow money at low interest rates directly from the federal government.
The Direct Loan Program
Direct Stafford Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans, which are available to parents of dependent students.
A Direct Stafford Loan might be subsidized or unsubsidized. Direct PLUS Loans are always unsubsidized. Subsidized loans the federal government pays the interest while the borrower is in college and during deferment. Unsubsidized loans the borrower must pay all accrued interest on unsubsidized loans.
The Federal Work-Study Program enables students to earn money during the school year while also gaining valuable work experience, typically in part-time, career-related jobs
Other forms of financial aid that might be available to students include
State Government Aid
For more information, contact the state's higher education agency. You can find the state agency's contact information at http://wdcrobcolp01.e d.gov/Programs/EROD/org_list.cfm?category_cd=SHE
Aid from the College
Students should contact the financial aid offices at the colleges they are considering for more information.
Some states, local governments, colleges, community organizations, private employers, and other organizations award scholarships based on academic ability or other factors. For more information, visit StudentAid.gov.
Aid for the Military
For more information, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/grants-scholarships/military