Gaining financial aid in the USA if you are American

Financial Need 

The difference between the cost of attendance (COA) at a college and your  Expected Family Contribution (EFC). While COA varies from college to  college, your EFC does not change based on the college you attend. 

You can fill out a FAFSA form online to ascertain your EFC 

FAFSA(for US citizens) 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) allows students to apply for more than $150 billion in grants, loans, and work-study funds. Check out this video for info about the FAFSA and the resources available to help fill out this important application. Visit FAFSA form – Financial AId  to learn more and to fill out the form. 

These are the main types of financial aid available 

Grants (Pell Grant) 

The federal government provides grants for students attending college or  career school. Most types of grants, unlike loans, are sources of free money  that generally do not have to be repaid. 


Scholarships are gifts. They don’t need to be repaid. There are thousands of  them, offered by schools, employers, individuals, private companies,  nonprofits, communities, religious groups, and professional and social  organizations.

Some scholarships for college are merit-based. Other scholarships are based  on financial need. You can learn about scholarships in several ways,  including contacting the financial aid office at the university you plan to  apply to. 

Work Study Program 

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate  students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay  education expenses 


If you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your  college’s financial aid offer. A loan is money you borrow and must pay back  with interest. 

In-State Tuition  

This usually costs less than half. You must meet residency qualifications.