Scholarships: Money for college that you “earn” based on merit, service, leadership, activities, or may be nominated for by others. Employers, churches, clubs, fraternal organizations, businesses, local groups and colleges are all potential providers of scholarships. They may or may not be based on financial need and are offered for a variety of reasons i.e. academic achievement/grades, high test scores, financial need, athletic or other creative abilities, membership in organizations, leadership qualities, etc. In most instances, a student must excel in an area to be considered for scholarship dollars.
Grants: These are awards based on financial need which do not require repayment. Grants are available through the federal government, state agencies and educational institutions.
Pell Grant: This is financial assistance awarded by the federal government on the basis of need. The grant may be used toward tuition, room and board, books or other educational costs. You do not have to pay this aid back.
Freedom of Choice Grant: These grants are designed to make it possible for a needy student to select a college without regard to tuition rates. If the student qualifies for an Indiana state grant and indicates a private Indiana school as a first choice, consideration is automatic.
Perkins Loan: This is a loan funded by the federal government and awarded by the institution. The loans feature low interest rates and are repayable over an extended period of time.
Direct Stafford Loan (subsidized): The subsidized loan is for students with financial need. FAFSA information is used to determine the amount a student can borrow. Students are not charged interest while in school at least half-time, during grace periods and deferment periods. Repayment begins within 6 months of the date the borrower withdraws from school, enrolls as less than a half-time student or graduates. The interest and principal are the responsibility of the borrower.
Direct Stafford Loan (unsubsidized): This is a non-need based loan. It is basically the same as above except for variations in the amounts available and the fact that the interest is paid by the borrower during the enrollment and repayment period. Only the principal payments are deferred until after withdrawal or graduation; interest may be accrued and capitalized (added to the principal amount of the loan).
Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS): Unsubsidized loans for parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. This is a non-need based loan with the current interest rate fixed at 7.9%.
State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI): SSACI is the state agency charged with the administration of Indiana Higher Education Grants and Lilly Endowment Education awards. To be considered, the student must be an Indiana resident planning to attend an Indiana institution on a full-time basis. Application is made by submitting the FAFSA and applying for eStudent at www.in.gov/ssaci/.
College Work-Study Program (CWS): This is a government-supported program, which provides part-time jobs to students who need help paying college expenses. Work-study jobs are awarded to the student by the financial aid office. Some colleges will guarantee jobs to a student even if they do not demonstrate financial need.
Aid Package: This is a combination of aid, scholarship, grant, loan and work determined by the financial aid office of the college or university.
*Financial Aid is a vast subject and may not be covered adequately in one publication such as this. Much of the information for this was taken directly from www.FAFSA.ed.gov, http://studentaid.ed.gov, and www.in.gov/ssaci/.