Financial assistance is offered to college and university students. These gifts are bestowed by charitable organizations, the government, and the school itself. Financial aid for students are not to be repaid. These are not loans that need to be paid back after a certain amount of time. These are free to use and any student who meets the eligibility requirement may apply.

In general, student financial aids are categorized as grants, fellowships, scholarships, loans, work study programs and waivers. Many students and their parents are confused about these different types of financial aid available. These are all meant to help students with their college tuition, but there are certain differences in these types of financial assistance.

Grants, fellowships and scholarships

A grant is a financial award given to students and the beneficiary is under no obligation to pay this back to the benefactor. A fellowship is awarded to a graduate student in a college or university. A scholarship is a kind of financial assistance usually awarded to students who excel in academics, sports or any other criterion. Some of these financial assistance programs are purely based on merit or academic achievement, while some are based on financial need. Most of the time, a review committee decides who should be awarded the grant, the scholarship and the fellowship, so the criteria for selection could vary.

Loans

A study loan is offered to students who are in immediate need of financial help. However, unlike scholarships and grants, these loans need to be repaid after the student finishes his course. Most of these loans are offered at zero interest by charitable organizations, but some loan programs have repayment provisions and repayment interest rates.

Work Study

Another form of financial aid is the so-called work study program. A student is offered the chance to be an employee in the institution, thereby earning cash for his studies. Many colleges and universities offer these jobs to reliable students who could use the extra cash. They can earn their school fees and living expenses just by working as an employee in the school.

Waivers

Sometimes, a college or university allows students to study free of charge. Unlike a scholarship, the decision is solely dependent on the college of the university. Certain eligibility requirements have to be met by the student.
If you want to know whether or not you are eligible to apply for a certain program or financial aid, ask the information desk at your university. Talk to your guidance counsellor or your professor for information on grants and college-based financial aid. You may also go online and look for scholarship lists on government websites. Just be careful not to fall for scams that ask money in exchange for application submission services.