Thinking about how to pay for college? Wondering where you might get some financial aid?

We asked the U.S. Department of Education for advice.

We know: All About Student Financial Aid

Where do I get financial aid for higher education?

The most common sources of Student financial aid is the federal government, state governments, colleges and universities, and other organizations. Students can receive aid from more than one source.

The federal government provides about 3/4 of the financial aid to students each year.

What are the most common federal government student aid programs?

The largest and most popular programs are Federal Pell Grants, Stafford Loans and Federal campus-based programs.

What’s a Pell Grant?

Federal Pell grants are need-based grants for students who qualify. They can amount to several thousand dollars each school year.

What are Stafford Loans?

Stafford Loans are the federal government's main form of self-help aid. There are various kinds of Stafford loans, depending on the source of the loan funds. These are loans, not grants. They allow you to borrow several thousand dollars each year for school.

How kind of campus-based aid programs does the federal government offer?

  1. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
  2. Federal Perkins Loans
  3. Federal Work Study Program

Where else can I get financial aid?

There are lots of difference sources, including:

  • Most States also offer financial aid to students for public colleges and universities. It can be need or merit-based. Call or write your State’s high education office.
  • Colleges themselves provide aid to many of their students. Most of this institutional aid is in the form of scholarships or grants. Some is need-based and some is merit-based. Check with schools financial aid office.
  • Other organizations, such as corporations, labor unions, professional associations, religious organizations, and credit unions, and foundations offer scholarships. Contact someone from the organization or learn more about such scholarships at the library in directories that list such scholarships.

Here are some suggested books to help you...

There are lots of difference sources, including:

  • College Financial Aid, College Research Group of Concord, Massachusetts. Macmillan General Reference
  • College Costs and Financial Aid Handbook, 1999, The College Board
  • Barron's Best Buys in College Education, Lucia Solorzano. Barron's Educational Series
  • College Scholarships & Financial Aid, John Schwartz (ed.). Arco Publishers
  • Don't Miss Out: The Ambitious Student's Guide to Financial Aid, Anna Leider and Robert Leider. Octameron Associates

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