Types of Aid

Types of Federal Student Aid Graphic

Need help paying for college or career school? Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, may be able to help you get the financial aid you need for college. We provide more than $150 billion in financial aid every year.

Federal Student Aid offers three types of financial aid.

  1. Grants: Financial aid that generally doesn’t have to be repaid.
  2. Loans: Borrowed money for college or career school; your loans must be repaid with interest.
  3. Work-Study: A federal work program through which undergraduates and graduate students at participating schools earn money to help pay for school.

Types of Grants

  • Federal Pell Grant: For undergraduates with financial need.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): For undergraduates with exceptional financial need at participating schools.
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant: For undergraduates and graduate students who are going to school to become elementary or secondary school teacher. A student must agree to teach in a high-need field at a low-income school for at least four years within eight years after graduation. Failure to live up to this agreement means that the grant is converted to a loan and must be repaid.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: For students with a parent or guardian who died after the events of 9/11 as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan. To qualify, a student must have been under the age of 24 at the time of his or her parent or guardian’s death or enrolled in college or career school at least part-time.

Types of Loans

  • Direct Subsidized Loan: For undergraduates; Interest is paid by the U.S. Department of Education while the student is in school and during periods of deferment.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan:  For undergraduates and graduate students; Borrower is responsible for all interest.
  • Direct PLUS Loan: For graduate and professional students and for parents of dependent undergraduates; Borrower is responsible for all interest.
  • Federal Perkins Loan: For undergraduate and graduate students; Loan made by participating school; No interest accrues while the student is in school or in a grace period and during periods of deferment.


Loans are an investment in your future and can be a great way to pay for school. Compared to private student loans, federal student loans often have

  • lower fixed interest rates,
  • flexible repayment options, and
  • many benefits that you won’t find elsewhere.


 You also may be eligible for financial aid from

  • other government agencies,
  • the state where you live,
  • the college you attend, or
  • a nonprofit or private organization.

Learn more about these options at StudentAid.gov/understand-aid/types.

To apply for financial aid from the federal government, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Your school will use information from your FAFSA® to compile your financial aid offer, which may include a combination of grants, loans, and work-study. Many states and schools also use information from the FAFSA® to award other types of aid.

Remember, federal student aid must be used for school expenses such as tuition, room and board, and books and supplies.

If you have questions or need any assistance, contact the financial aid office at your college or career school.