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Financial aid can be a complicated process. You can get help from your financial aid department, or seek answers by calling the scholarship or financial aid department directly. Here are answers to three Common Financial AidQuestions:
1. What is the difference between a Pell Grant and a Federal Student Loan?
Pell Grants and Federal Student Loans are similar in that both programs are federal financial aid programs administered by the United States Department of Education and students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for them.
The important difference between Pell Grants and Federal Loans has to do with repayment. Pell Grants do not have to be repaid. Federal Student Loans, however, must be repaid, with interest, according to specified terms and conditions.
2. How does need-based financial aid differ from merit-based financial aid.
Need-based aid programs are awarded based on demonstrated financial need. Need based programs usually have specific financial guidelines that take into account the cost of attendance, family income, and family size.
Merit-based financial aid programs do not take financial need into consideration. Such aid programs are typically awarded on a competitive basis for factors such as academic achievement, musical ability, athletic prowess, etc.
3. Can I pay for part of my tuition by working on campus?
Many schools participate in the Federal Work-Study program. Students are evaluated for Work-Study eligibility based on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. Students must qualify for Work-Study positions based on demonstrated financial need. If you are eligible for financial aid and you would like a Work-Study position, be sure to let your financial aid officer know of your interest.
Some schools have additional jobs designated for student workers that do not fall under the scope of the federal program. These positions are not need-based, and are typically handled through a school's office of student employment (if one exists at the school) or human resources department.
Availability of both Work-Study and student worker positions will vary from one school to the next, and there is never any guarantee that on-campus employment will be made available to any student.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|