Financial Aid Basics
What’s the Issue?
Federal student aid is financial assistance through the U.S. Department of Education that’s available if you’re enrolled in an eligible program* as a regular student* at a school participating in our federal student aid programs.
There are three main "types" of financial aid:
- Grants & Scholarships - funds that do not have to be repaid by the student
- Loans - Federal and Private Student Loans, money lent to the student (or student's parents) to pay for college that has to be repaid
- Work study - funds a student earns through a campus-sponsored work program.
How does this affect me?
Basic eligibility requirements:
- Demonstrate financial need (except for certain
- loans, see pages 9 and 10).
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen* (for
- most programs) with a valid Social Security
- number (SSN).
- Be working toward a degree or certificate
- in an eligible program.*
- Show, by one of the following means, that you’re
- qualified to obtain a postsecondary education:
- Have a high school diploma or a General
- Education Development (GED) Certificate.*
- Pass an approved ability-to-benefit* (ATB)
- test (if you don’t have a diploma or GED, a
- school can administer a test to determine
- whether you can benefit from the education
- offered at that school).
- Meet other standards your state establishes
- that we have approved.
- Complete a high school education in a home
- school setting approved under state law.
- Register (if you haven’t already) with the Selective
- Service, if you’re a male between the ages of 18 and 25.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress* once in