What are the categories of financial aid?
Various types of financial aid may be combined into a financial
aid package. How much you receive will depend on your financial need and whether
you qualify for merit-based awards. In most cases, the school won't tell you
how much aid you qualify for until you've been accepted for enrollment and
have completed the financial aid form.
Merit-based assistance is awarded to students with a particular
skill, achievement, talent or characteristic, usually as a scholarship. Most
scholarships require separate applications, often with written essays and
Need-based assistance is provided to students who cannot afford
college using only their own or their family's financial resources. The level
of need is determined through federal, state and institutional formulas. The
most common forms of need-based aid are grants, work-study programs and subsidized
student loans, which means the federal government pays the interest for you
while you are in school. You must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for federal
and state need-based aid. Your college may require additional forms for institutional
Grants and Scholarships are types of financial aid that do not
have to be repaid.
Self-help aid is aid that requires repayment, such
as student and parent loans.
University of North Dakota (UND) flight school student Max Kahlhamer
didn't qualify for any merit-based scholarships. But he used his savings and
federal student loans to help pay for his education at UND in Grand Forks.
He also received a gift scholarship awarded to students pursuing an aviation
career, and he receives free room and board in exchange for his work as a
"That's a big help, not paying for room and board,"
he says. "I can keep costs low."