There are a number of options available to students when it comes to financing their higher education. These may include a combination of the following:
Grants are considered "gift aid," in which students do not need to repay this funding upon graduation. Most grant programs are government sponsored and awarded based on financial need.
Scholarships are also a form of gift aid, however this type differs from grants. Scholarships may be offered by private institutions and often entail a separate application process. Applicants must meet certain criteria specified by the scholarship program, and these awards are based on merit.
Loans are a form of financial aid that eventually must be repaid. Students can borrow loans through the federal government, state agencies or private lenders. Private financing options such as alternative loans are subject to credit checks and prior approval from lenders.
Employment programs, such as Federal Work Study, enable students to earn money to put toward their educational expenses.