Understanding Scholarships, Grants, and Student Loans
Just about every graduate student needs some kind of assistance to pay for college. There are several types of financial aid for grad school that you might use to fund your degree. It is your job to select the right kind of aid for your school, degree, and financial status. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between scholarships, grants, and student loans so you can figure out which option is right for you.
What Are Scholarships?
Scholarships are the ideal forms of financial aid because you don’t have to pay them back. You can get a scholarship based on your grades, income, lifestyle, race, religion, major, talent, or anything else along those lines. Most scholarships are available through clubs and private organizations, but you can sometimes find them through businesses or individual people. No matter what you get, you won’t have to pay any of the money back
What Are Grants?
Grants are like scholarships in the sense that you do not have to pay them back. Most of these are funded through the government, like the well-known Pell Grant. However, there are plenty of private parties that issue grants as well, and most of them do so based on financial need. If you come from a low income household, this would be a great venue for you to explore.
What Are Student Loans?
Student loans should be considered your last source of financial aid. As the name implies, these loans have to be paid back. Most of them come with low interest rates, but they can quickly add up over time. If you get too many of them, you may actually end up way over your head in debt by the time you get out of school. Your income might be able to support that debt over time, but you will have to pay it no matter what until then. If you can get a grant or scholarship to pay for school, that would be the ideal option for you.
Note that there are many different forms of student loans, from private student loans to Stafford Loans from the government. The way you qualify for these loans and the way you go about paying them back will vary from one provider to the next. Make sure you understand all of the terms of your loan and your repayment program before you sign up for a long-term debt.
Other Forms of Financial Aid
There are other financial aid options to choose from, like fellowships or work study programs. Check out as many opportunities as you can to hopefully pay off your expenses in college. You can never have too much financial aid available to you, so you might as well apply for anything you possibly can. The more money you get, the better off you will be in the long run.