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Financial aid basics

Intro to Financial Aid

[Excerpted from’s Family Guide to College Savings]

A large majority of full-time college undergraduates receive some type of financial aid, so it makes sense to explore this avenue for your own child. Most financial aid is provided by the federal and state governments. Colleges, scholarship organizations, and employers are also important aid sources.

Financial aid can include "self-help"—interest-subsidized loans and work-study—and "gift aid" consisting of grants and scholarships. Gift aid is more attractive, of course, because it doesn't have to be paid back and doesn't place additional demands on the child.

The amount and type of financial aid offered is based on two factors: the student's merit (scholastic, athletic, musical, etc.) and the student's financial need. Here, we focus on financial need since that is the factor most impacted by your investment decisions.

Next:Financial Aid Eligibility


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