- Loans - Education loans are given to students or their parents, usually based on demonstrated financial need. Loans may be administered by the government or by individual colleges.
- Grants - Need-based educational grants are given to those students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. The Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant are two common examples.
- Scholarships - Educational scholarships are usually given based on some merit, such as excellent grades or some outstanding talent. Scholarships and grants do not have to be repaid.
- Work-study programs - Such programs are usually subsidized by the federal government, and place students in various on-campus and off-campus jobs.
This video offers tips on applying for FAFSA.
- Private - These include various community and religious groups. You can find out more about these sources by approaching them directly or by checking in the reference section of your local library.
- Institutional - This type of aid is provided by the colleges themselves, and varies from college to college. The financial aid office at your community college will be able to provide you with detailed information and have all the necessary applications.
- State - Each state has a dedicated agency that is responsible for awarding aid. Different types of state aid may vary in their attendance and residency restrictions. They may also be based on demonstrated financial need or academic achievement.
- Federal - Federal aid can be both need-based and merit-based. The U.S. Department of Education provides funds to colleges, who in turn give federal aid to students based on established guidelines (Financial Aid: you can afford it, 2004).
This video helps you understand your options and the difference between the two most common resources, merit-based scholarships and need-base financial aid is essential to determining which path will be right for you.