What are the Different Types of Financial Aid?

Financial aid is a substantial part of students to provide them financial support for higher studies. As we know, higher education requires a considerable amount of money to cover college admission fees, course fees, tuition fees, and many more, which keep adding to the tabs. It is essential when applying to study abroad, as the amount of living and travelling is overwhelming. Several types of financial aid are available, each with its own eligibility criteria and terms. Before applying for any financial aid, ensure you have completed your research and know what and when to apply. If you need clarification, don’t worry. This article will cover all your inquiries regarding financial aid, its benefits, and how to access it.

Types of Financial Aid

Students can apply for various types of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, student loans, work-study programs, and many more. If you are searching for financial aid, you can learn more about how to apply for grants from reputed sources so that it is easier to get started with the process. The primary source of financial aid students receive is from the

  • Federal government, based on the information you provided on FAFSA
  • State government to the residents who reside and attend the college in the state
  • Private institutions- colleges have their financial fund for students to apply.


Grants are forms of financial aid that do not need to be repaid; they are sometimes known as “gift aid” or “free money”. They are need-based and highly pursued, after which they are awarded based on financial condition, academic merit or both. There are different types of grants:

  1. Federal Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is one of the most prominent and widely accessible grants for all undergraduate students. It is granted based only on financial need, and it is optional to pay it back. The amount concerned depends on the Student Aid          Index (SAI), cost of attendance, and enrollment status. The maximum award is               $7,395 for the 2024–25 award year (July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025)

Funds are limited, and priority is given to students who receive Federal Pell Grants and have the lowest EFCs.

  1. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

This grant is particularly merited for undergraduate students with extreme financial issues. Funds are limited, and priority is given to students who receive Federal Pell      Grants and have the lowest EFCs. The amounts range between $100 and           $4,000 per year.

  1. State Grants

Several states run grants for residents who intend to attend college in their state. Such grants are most commonly need-based but sometimes have other eligibility conditions, such as GPA criteria or participation in certain programs.

  1. Federal Work-Study

The federal work-study program makes paid part-time jobs available through participating colleges and universities. Both undergraduate and graduate students may be eligible.


A scholarship is a type of financial aid you don’t have to repay. Such scholarships are generally granted based on the student’s academic performance, athletic merits, and talents or following the scholarship provider’s requirements. There are many types of scholarships available, and a student can choose one according to their needs:

  1. Academic Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded based on the academic performance of the applicants, namely high GPA, relevant test scores, or specific academic achievements.
  2. Merit-based Scholarships: Students obtain these scholarships based on their talents, skills, and achievements in art, sport, leadership, or community service.
  3. Need-based Scholarships: Some scholarships take financial need into consideration, in addition to other criteria.
  4. Private Scholarships: Various organizations, companies, and foundations offer scholarships to students who meet their specific criteria. These scholarships can be found through online scholarship search engines or by consulting with your school’s financial aid office.
  5. Military-based Scholarships: These financial aid are for veterans and soldiers who have already served in the army to help them advance their careers.


A fellowship is a financial aid usually granted to graduate students, Postdoctoral researchers, or professionals for their higher studies, research, or professional purposes. However, fellowships are usually merit-based and can be highly demanding sometimes. Fellowships are of different types, such as:

  1. Graduate Fellowships: This initiative is for graduate students working toward a master’s or PhD. They can obtain post-graduation funding such as tuition, living expenses, and research fees.
  2. Postdoctoral Fellowships: These fellowships target individuals who have recently completed their doctoral degree and want to conduct further research or receive additional training in their area of interest.
  3. Professional Fellowships: These fellowships are designed to address the needs of transition professionals who want to increase their skills, gain needed experience, or do research in their professional field.
  4. Dissertation Fellowships: These fellowships offer doctoral students scholarships after their coursework and throughout the phase of their program during the dissertation writing and research process.
  5. Travel Fellowships: This program reimburses travel fees to researchers or scientists who attend conferences, explore the field, or cooperate with their counterparts from other universities or organizations.

Student Loans

Student loans are a type of aid given to a student to pay for school. The student must repay it with interest. They are the source from the federal government, private lenders, or a combination of these.

  1. Federal Direct Subsidized Loans: These loans are intended for undergraduate students with financial needs. The U.S. Department of Education provides paid interest on these loans as long as the student attends college at least half-time and during deferment periods.
  2. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Such loans are available for undergraduate and postgraduate students, irrespective of their financial need. Students are charged interest starting from the time their loans are awarded, and they are responsible for paying the interest that accrues throughout the period.
  3. Federal Direct PLUS Loans: They are exclusively for graduate/professional students and the parents of dependent undergraduate students. PLUS, loans require a credit check and are more expensive (i.e., more significant interest rates and fees) than non-PLUS federal student loans.
  4. Private Student Loans: In addition to federal aid, students may obtain additional loans from private lenders like banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Generally, private loans involve higher interest rates and less beneficial repayment conditions than federal loans.


Financial aid options should be carefully assessed before applying and understand different types of financial aid and eligibility criteria. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for federal and state aid programs. Besides, they should search for and avail themselves of scholarships, grants, and institutional aid offered by their school. Looking out for repayment terms and interest rates is crucial if you are applying for loans. The borrowers should be cautious about their future income and generate a realistic repayment plan. By relying on grants, scholarships, work-study jobs, and applying for loans, students can make their higher education affordable and achieve their academic and career goals.

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