December is fast approaching - Don’t miss the deadline - Your federal loan(s) could be forgiven! Learn More
Breaking Down the Language
There is no standard form for these offers, which is why each one will look different and may even use different words to refer to the same kinds of aid.
The one thing they'll have in common is that they may include any or all of the following:
- Grants, scholarships, or merit aid (free money known as "gift aid" that doesn't need to be paid back)
- Loans (borrowed money that you'll need to repay with interest)
- Work-study (which will require that you work a certain number of hours each semester)
Make sure you understand all of the vocabulary in the offer. If you need help, here's a list of words to look for, along with their definitions.
WHAT'S MERIT AID?
Merit aid is free money from a school. It isn't based on financial need. Instead, it is given to students who have academic, athletic, or artistic skills. It could also be given to students who meet certain traits that the school is looking for.