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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Mendlowitz

3 Types of Financial Aid for College Tuition

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

The information below is from

Federal Student Aid offers three types of financial aid.

  1. Grants: Financial aid that generally doesn’t have to be repaid.

  2. Loans: Borrowed money for college or career school; your loans must be repaid with interest.

  3. Work Study: A federal work program through which undergraduates and graduate students at participating schools earn money to help pay for school.

Types of Grants

  • Federal Pell Grant: For undergraduates with financial need.

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): For undergraduates with exceptional financial need at participating schools.

  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant: For undergraduates and graduate students who are going to school to become elementary or secondary school teacher. A student must agree to teach in a high-need field at a low-income school for at least four years within eight years after graduation. Failure to live up to this agreement means that the grant is converted to a loan and must be repaid.

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: For students with a parent or guardian who died after the events of 9/11 as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan. To qualify, a student must have been under the age of 24 at the time of his or her parent or guardian’s death or enrolled in college or career school at least part-time.

Types of Loans

  • Direct Subsidized Loan: For undergraduates; Interest is paid by the U.S. Department of Education while the student is in school and during periods of deferment.

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: For undergraduates and graduate students; Borrower is responsible for all interest.

  • Direct PLUS Loan: For graduate and professional students and for parents of dependent undergraduates; Borrower is responsible for all interest.

  • Federal Perkins Loan: For undergraduate and graduate students; Loan made by participating school; No interest accrues while the student is in school or in a grace period and during periods of deferment.


Loans are an investment in your future and can be a great way to pay for school. Compared to private student loans, federal student loans often have

  • lower fixed interest rates,

  • flexible repayment options, and

  • many benefits that you won’t find elsewhere.


You also may be eligible for financial aid from

  • other government agencies,

  • the state where you live,

  • the college you attend, or

  • a nonprofit or private organization.

Learn more about these options at

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