Financial aid consists of several forms of assistance to help students pay for college. The various types of aid usually fall into one of four categories: Grants, Loans, Scholarships, and Employment. However, there are also other resources students can explore which are listed under Other Types of Aid.
A grant is gift aid, which means the funds do not need to be repaid. Most grants are based on financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
A loan is a form of financial assistance which must be repaid and should only be accepted with full realization of that responsibility.
A scholarship is also gift aid which does not need to be repaid. Scholarships are usually merit based, and the criteria to receive a scholarship varies considerably dependent upon the scholarship provider.