Whether you are paying for college yourself or have family support, it is important to understand all your options for paying tuition and living expenses. Planning early is essential to keep debt as low as possible, especially if your future plans include a graduate or professional school where the tuition bills will be even larger.
Financial aid can be in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, work-study jobs, or a combination of the above.
Loans must be paid back with interest; grants and scholarships are not paid back. Work-study jobs are generally campus jobs where your salary is subsidized by the federal government.
Apply early to maximize your opportunity to receive federal grants or work-study. There is a limited amount of both of these aids, and late-comers to the financial aid process may not receive them simply because the funds have been allocated to others who applied earlier. Visit the financial aid page to learn more about how to apply.
Fill out your FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 of each year.