What kind of financial aid are available?

Types of Aid

Merit-based aid

Most scholarships are merit based. This means that they are awarded to students with certain qualities, such as proven academic or athletic ability. Many scholarships require you to maintain a certain GPA to continue receiving aid.

Need-based aid

Most grants are need based. Financial aid (grants, scholarships, loans and work-study opportunities) given to students because they and their families are not able to pay the full cost of attending a certain college. 



Most grants are need based. This means that they are usually awarded based on your or your family’s financial situation. You do not have to pay the money back.

Student loans

Money you borrow from the government, a bank or another source. Loans need to be paid back, usually over an agreed period of time.


Most scholarships are merit based. This means that they are awarded to students with certain qualities, such as proven academic or athletic ability. Many scholarships have rules — maintaining a certain GPA, for example — that you have to follow to continue receiving aid. You do not have to pay the money back.

Other types of scholarships

Sometimes individual universities have their own scholarship programs. May be a company or organization has given some money to the university to found a scholarship program that carries their name. Or, an alumnus has donated money for a scholarship.

Work-study programs in the USA (US Citizens)

A program that allows students to take a part-time campus job as part of their financial aid package. To qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program, which is funded by the government, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Some colleges have their own work-study programs.

Aid from your own government

Many governments sponsor their citizens who want to go and study abroad

Aid from your parents’ employer

Some companies and organizations will pay all or part of your university costs. These are usually international companies/ organizations where the employees are working away from home countries. E.g. United Nations, World Bank, EU etc.

Parental contribution (Bank of Mum & Dad!)

You need to have a conversation with your parents to find out how much they are willing to pay towards the costs of your university education.

And finally, you can get a part-time job to help finance studies.

We’ll be covering the last two in much more detail in another module…