Grants, Scholarships, and Loans
Grants are sometimes referred to as “gift aid” because they are free money—financial aid
that doesn't have to be repaid. Grants are often need-based, and can come from the
federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private
or nonprofit organization. Grants are typically awarded based on financial need, which
is determined by the information submitted when you complete your FAFSA application.
Occasionally, you might have to pay back part or all of a grant if, for example, you
withdraw from school before finishing an enrollment period such as a semester.
Scholarships are awards that do not have to be paid back and are based on student performance and talent. Some scholarships consider financial need when determining eligibility.
Loans are money that must be repaid with interest. Student loans can also come from the federal government, your state government, college or career school, or private sources, such as a bank or financial institution.