How aid works

We understand that the financial aid process can feel overwhelming. To take some of the stress away and better understand it, review this overview of how aid works (sourced from the Federal Student Aid website).

Financial aid explained

First, prior to each year of college, fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for federal grants, work-study and loans. The information you provide on the FAFSA will help colleges determine your federal aid eligibility. After the colleges you select have reviewed your submission, you’ll receive your Student Aid Report and your award offer from each one if eligibility is determined.

Your aid offer explains the types and amounts of aid the colleges can offer you, as well as your expected costs for the year. If you decide to accept the aid offer from a college, you must inform the school of other sources of aid (such as scholarships) you expect to receive.

The college's financial aid office will then apply your aid to the amount you owe and send you the remaining balance to spend on other college costs. One of the requirements to maintain financial aid eligibility is that you must make satisfactory academic progress.

Aid awards and disbursement

Special aid circumstances

About loan repayment

Repayment of federal Direct and PLUS loans begins six months after graduation or when a student drops below half-time enrollment. The length of repayment and monthly payment amounts depends on the outstanding loan balance, the interest rate and repayment policies.

Perkins loans and alternative loans through private lenders have separate repayment policies.

Visit the loans page for more details