Last Updated: June 27, 2021
Types of Financial Assistance for Students
While studying in the US, though higher education can seem really expensive, it is always possible for candidates to find financial aid for the courses they take up. The financial aid
that the candidates can find for their studies can range from scholarships and grants to educational loans from private organizations which are all available with a certain investment of time in these areas. It is also possible for candidates to avail themselves of multiple financial opportunities if they cannot receive a fully-funded scholarship.
Financial assistance is often classified under many different names, so getting oneself acquainted with the different terms is the first step of receiving it. It is also important that candidates familiarize themselves with the different organizations that can provide them with scholarships like the nationally funded Federal Student Aid before going after private organizations or student loans.
The best method to fund one’s education irrespective of whether they are an international student or a local student is to self-fund it. Higher education can be funded by the immediate family members of the candidates in which case the candidate will not have to put themselves through the hassle of finding scholarships or student loans. The most common sponsors that candidates have are their immediate family members. But it is also possible for candidates to let their external family members fund their education if there is even a remote possibility of availing it.
Scholarships and Grants
This is the most sought-after financial aid by candidates who apply for higher education. It is mostly based either on merit or on financial need and is provided by federal student aid, non-profit organizations, private organizations, community-based organizations, etc., and does not require candidates to repay them.
There are both fully-funded and partially-funded scholarships that candidates can receive. There are many sources for scholarships and it is always better to apply for every scholarship one is eligible for. Applying for even smaller scholarships can amount to a lot, even if the scholarship amounts are meager. The sources for scholarships are-
- Private Companies
- Educational Institutions
- Non-Profit Organizations
- Ethnicity-Based Organizations
- Religious Groups
- Professional Organizations
- Social Organizations
The best option to receive fully-funded scholarships is to apply for Federal Student Aid. The information regarding these scholarships can be found by contacting the financial aid offices in schools, through the TRIO counselor, the free scholarship search tool by the Us Department of Labor, federal agencies, and even state grant agencies.
Grants on the other hand can be received from the federal government, state government, college or career school, and even private organizations. Grants can be obtained by filling out the FAFSA form and are calculated based on the financial need of the student. The grants offered by the US Department of Education are-
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants- FSEOG
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education- TEACH Grants
Funding is also available in the form of Assistantships namely Research or Teaching Assistantships. Research Assistants typically work under a Faculty in some Laboratory conducting experiments and documenting results related to the faculty’s research interests. Teaching Assistants, on the other hand, play a role in conducting specific classes, conducting exams for their respective professors. Both these Assistantships are accompanied by stipends that cover a part of the student's tuition fees.
This position is not often provided to undergraduate students but is common for students doing their post-graduation and research in different fields. In order to find more about these positions, candidates will have to enquire at their office or department and keep in close contact with their professors who can inform them about similar job postings. These jobs, unlike other on-campus jobs, will help candidates earn money while studying the subject they have chosen and gaining research experience that can help them in their future job placements.
Internships and Exchange Programs
There are many paid internships available in various areas of interest, and it earns some extra money along with valuable experience. Exchange programs with other Universities offer a cultural experience with splendid opportunities, and the best part is that they come fully funded. Applying for an exchange program is often an opportunity provided based on merit and the zeal of the student in learning more about their field of study.
are available to help students through the financial crisis during their education period. Loans can be of different kinds based on the organization providing the funds for the same. The eligibility criteria for providing loans also vary from institution to institution and it is always advisable for candidates to take up scholarships and grants which do not require them to repay it instead of educational loans. Loans can be taken from the federal government, private sources, and even other organizations.
This is due to the fact that educational loans or student loans are supposed to be repaid with an additional amount as its interest and the interest rate along with the duration of paying the loan back varies from place to place. Student loans are known to put students in debt for years after their education is completed, though most student loans will only require them to repay it after a particular duration of completing their education. Some loans require collateral or are provided on a merit basis which lets the organization estimate the accuracy of the student being able to repay the money fully.
Federal Student Loans
have a fixed interest rate which is significantly lower than private loans with no prior requirement of credit checks or a cosigner. Candidates will not be required to pay the amount immediately after their education is complete providing them with a window to seek employment and settle down before they have to repay the entire amount. Federal Student Loans that the students can take are as follows-
- Direct Subsidized Loans- This is made available for undergraduate students with financial needs which will be equal to the amount incurred by the cost of attendance.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans- This loan is provided to undergraduate, postgraduate, and professionals students and is not based on financial need.
- Direct PLUS Loans- This loan is available to undergraduate students who are dependent on their parents and also for both graduate and professional students. It is not based on financial need but requires an advanced credit check. It is provided only to candidates with a clean credit history.
- Direct Consolidation Loans- This loan allows candidates to consolidate all their federal student loans into a single loan.
are taken by candidates who do not have a fully-funded scholarship or do not have the assets of covering up the extra cost of education that isn’t covered through the Federal Student Aid and Loans. These organizations have a higher interest rate than federal agencies and often require candidates to pay them back immediately after their education is completed. The best private education loans that candidates can take according to the usnews in the year 2021 are-
- Education Loan Finance
- College Ave
- Sallie Mae
Funding from External Sources
Students can also qualify for financial assistance outside their Institution of study based on a variety of eligibility criteria such as ROTC funds, Military Tuition assistance, etc. Many other scholarships and financial aid that match a student's profile can be dug out through online search engines such as FastWeb and Peterson’s. While these funds will not cover the entire amount required for their education, they will help the student cover a substantial amount making them work less to pay for the entire cost of education. It is recommended that candidates find every competition and grant they can find and apply for all of them as long as they are eligible for the same.
Candidates will be able to also take up a work-study schedule that will fund their education. Out of work-study options, students will be able to take up on-campus jobs as well as off-campus jobs. Candidates who require on-campus jobs can either contact their college administration or look upon notice boards for listings of the same. On the other hand, candidates who are willing to take up off-campus jobs will be able to do the same after obtaining permission from their institutions. There are Federal Work-Study options that candidates will be able to procure depending on their financial need where the jobs that candidates do will be either community service-related or related to their course of study. Every place will have a maximum number of hours a student can work based on the number of hours they will be required to study and they will always be guaranteed a minimum wage according to the work they do.