FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID
Financial aid can come from federal, state, school, and private sources to help you pay for college or career school. There are three types of federal student aid:
- Grants—financial aid that doesn't have to be repaid (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund)
- Work-study—a work program through which you earn money to help you pay for school
- Loans—borrowed money for college or career school; you must repay your loans, with interest
Grants and scholarships are often called “gift aid” because they are free money—financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. Grants are often need-based, while scholarships are usually merit-based.
Grants and scholarships can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization. Do your research, apply for any grants or scholarships you might be eligible for, and be sure to meet application deadlines!
Federal Pell Grant
Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor's, graduate, or professional degree.
Georgia's HOPE Grant (a separate program from the HOPE Scholarship) is available to Georgia residents who are working towards a certificate or diploma (continuing education programs are not eligible) at an eligible college or university in Georgia.
HOPE Career Grant
The HOPE Career Grant, formerly known as the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant, is available to HOPE Grant-qualified students who enroll in select majors specifically aligned with industries in which there are more jobs available in Georgia than there are skilled workers to fill them.
HOPE GED Grant
Georgia's HOPE GED Grant is available to students who earned a General Education Development (GED/high school equivalency) diploma awarded by the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).
Zell Miller Grant
Georgia's Zell Miller Grant is available to Georgia residents who are working towards a certificate or diploma at a Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) or University System of Georgia (USG) institution.
If you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your school’s financial aid offer. A loan is money you borrow and must pay back with interest.
If you decide to take out a loan, make sure you understand who is making the loan and the terms and conditions of the loan.
There are many different types of loans:
- Direct Subsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college or career school.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but eligibility is not based on financial need.
- Direct PLUS Loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid. Eligibility is not based on financial need, but a credit check is required. Borrowers who have an adverse credit history must meet additional requirements to qualify.
- Direct Consolidation Loans allow you to combine all of your eligible federal student loans into a single loan with a single loan servicer.