Student Financial Aid: Who Provides It?
Student financial aid is available from a wide range of sources. Scholarships, grants, loans, and other forms of student financial aid are offered by many different associations and organizations, as well as your state and federal government. To obtain all the student financial aid that you're eligible for, the key is to find and combine these sources of funding so that you get the most out of each one.
Federal financial aid
The largest provider of student financial aid in the U.S. is the federal government. In fact, about 70% of the student financial aid that is disbursed (paid out) in the U.S. comes from federal financial aid programs.
The types of student financial aid offered by the federal government include grants, loans, and work-study programs. Often, you can find free info about the federal government's financial aid programs at your high school guidance counselor's office or at your college's financial aid office.
State financial aid
State governments also provide student financial aid for college. Every state has a different policy on funding postsecondary education. Since state student financial aid programs vary from state to state, it is best that you look for information specific to your state. You can find contact info for your state financial aid office, including phone number, address, URL and fax numbers here.
Financial aid from private sources
You can also apply for and receive student financial aid from a broad array of private sources. There are countless community organizations, religious groups, charities, professional and trade associations, non-profit organizations and entities that offer financial aid to students that meet their criteria. A lot of this student financial aid is aimed at students that belong to or show an interest in the field that the organization represents. Read more about scholarships and grants from non-federal sources...
Don't pay for financial aid information you can find for free on your own
When researching private scholarships or grants, be on the alert for fake "scholarship search services." For a fee, these scams provide you with a list of scholarships to apply for, but the U.S. Department of Education warns, "Most of the information that private scholarship search services provide can be obtained for free elsewhere. Before you pay any company or organization to find student financial aid for you, make sure you're not paying for free information. Also make sure you know what you're getting for your money. Searching for student aid on your own can prevent you from wasting your money. You just need to know where to look."
Figuring out how to pay for education can be challenging, but with careful planning and a creative combination of funding from diverse sources, it can be done.
Read more about Financial Aid
- Federal Financial Aid: Who Provides It?
- Federal Financial Aid: Who Is Eligible?
- Federal Financial Aid: What Types of Aid Are Available?
- The Key to Obtaining Federal Financial Aid
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Making Sense of Your Financial Aid Award Letter
- Federal Loans
- Federal Work-Study
- Federal Grants
- Scholarships for Adult Learning
- Scholarships and Grants from Private Organizations
- Beware College Scholarship Scams
Still thinking about going back to school?
Source: "Funding Education Beyond High School," Guide to Federal Student Aid, 2007-2008, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid (http://studentaid.ed.gov/).
Carlos Soto is a content contributor for CourseAdvisor.