Filling out the FAFSA and seeing what you receive from the federal government for your education is great, but it’s not the only source of funding out there. Depending on where you go to college, your home state or states in your region may offer you discounted tuition. You can also talk to your employer (or that of your parents), apply for private scholarships, and consider private loans. Click on the images below to learn about your nonfederal financial aid options.
Students may receive private scholarships from almost anywhere. Large corporations, nonprofit organizations, and generous individuals are just some of the sources of private scholarships. Students should begin searching and applying for scholarships early to maximize their options and continue to apply throughout college.
Private loans tend to have higher interest rates and fewer protective options (should you fail to make your loan payments) than federal loans. Additionally, you’ll likely have to begin loan repayment right away, while federal loans don’t need to begin being repaid until you graduate or fall below half-time enrollment. Private loans should be your last resort for financial aid.
State-based financial aid comes from your state of residence. Students who attend public institutions in their home states are often given a tuition break, while out-of-state students are required to pay the full cost. There are some exceptions for students who live in counties that border the state line. States also offer scholarships and grants to eligible students, though the programs vary by state.
Regional financial aid is an option for students who want to attend a particular program but find that the program is not offered in their home states. They may be eligible for discounted tuition if they attend school in a different state within their region. Some regions offer discounted tuition to all students from the region, regardless of their program choice.
Institutional aid is financial aid offered to students by an institution to which they’ve applied. This most frequently includes grants and scholarships; schools may take money from their endowment to help fund an individual’s education. Depending on the school, institutional aid may be either need-based or merit-based, and there may be extra steps beyond the FAFSA and CSS Profile needed to apply.
Some companies have a vested interest in helping further the education of their employees and offer tuition assistance as a result. Students may be required to stay with their companies for a certain number of years, attend a certain school, or enter a certain program if they want to receive aid from their employers. Children of employees may also be eligible to use tuition assistance.