Grants are sometimes referred to as “gift aid” because they are free money—financial aid that doesn't have to be repaid. Grants are often need-based, and can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization. Do your research, apply for any grants or scholarships you might be eligible for, and be sure to meet application deadlines!
Occasionally you might have to pay back part or all of a grant if, for example, you withdraw from school before finishing an enrollment period such as a semester.
Loans are money that must be repaid with interest. Student loans can also come from the federal government, your state government, college or career school, or private sources, such as a bank or financial institution.
Grants available include
Student loans can come from the federal government or from private sources, such as a bank or financial institution. You can check out the differences between federal student loans and private loans at StudentAid.gov/federal-vs-private.
Loans made by the federal government are called "federal student loans." They offer borrowers many benefits not typically found in private loans such as: