Financial aid is monetary assistance offered in the form of scholarships and grants, work-study programs, and loans available through federal and state governments as well as private sources. There are two types of financial aid available, "merit-based" and "need-based". In most cases the amount of financial aid offered to a student will be based on a combination of factors involving both of these types of aid.
"Merit-based" aid is scholarships or grants that students can earn for their achievement in academics, music, athletics and/or other extra-curricular activities. Merit-based scholarships are not contingent on the student demonstrating financial need.
"Need-based" aid refers to assistance offered to students based on their or their family's ability to pay for college. "Need" is determined by the difference between the total cost of attending college (including tuition, living expenses, books, supplies and travel) and a student's expected family contribution to college expenses (as determined by a student's FAFSA results). In other words, it refers to the amount of money you "need" to pay for college. Need-based aid is available in the form of grants and/or loans.
Work-study programs are need-based awards involving on or off-campus employment in which the student is able to earn money which is applied directly to college expenses. In some cases, these jobs can relate to an individual's field of study.
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