What is Federal Student Aid ?

Financial aid is money to help pay for college or career school. Grants, work-study, loans, and scholarships help make college or career school affordable.

Financial aid can come from federal, state, school, and private sources to help you pay for college or career school.

The U.S. Department of Education awards more than $120 billion a year in grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans to more than 13 million students. Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid also can help pay for other related expenses, such as a computer and dependent care.

There are three types of federal student aid:

  • Grants—financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund)
  • Work-study—a work program through which you earn money to help you pay for school
  • Loans—borrowed money for college or career school; you must repay your loans, with interest