Learn How Financial Aid Works

Get the basics on how to get money for college and career training

Financial aid is money that a student receives to help pay for college or career training. Financial aid helps add to what you and your family can pay toward education expenses.

Financial aid is available from:

  • The U.S. federal government
  • The state where you live
  • The college you attend
  • Nonprofit or private organizations
  • Banks and national lenders

Types of Financial Aid

There are 2 basic types of financial aid: Gift aid that you do not need to pay back and self-help aid that you are required to pay back either through work or financial payments. Different factors affect how much of each type of aid you may receive.

Types of Financial Aid chart

Before you start looking for financial aid, take some time to understand how the process works.

re-apply every year

Remember, the first step to getting financial aid is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

NEXT: Learn more about the FAFSA >