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Types of Financial Aid and How to Apply

Quick Answers to Common Questions About Financial Aid

The first question many students ask when considering going back to school is, “How will I pay for my education?”

What most students don’t know, however, is that there are a variety of outside resources that can help pay for school. These resources fall into several different categories: grants, loans, work-study and scholarships. 1

Many people miss out on financial aid simply because they don’t know where to look or how to apply. Brightwood College has experienced financial planning associates available at each campus to guide students through the process. They help students create a plan to accommodate their financial situation and needs.

4 Types of Financial Aid


Federal or state grants are also called “gift aids” because they do not have to be repaid. Grants are awarded by federal and state governments. To be eligible for a federal grant, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online.

Other grants are also available through private entities such as the College Grant offered by Brightwood College. The College Grant does not have to be paid back and could provide up to $2,500 toward tuition for eligible students.


Loans are the most common type of financial aid. The federal government backs the Federal Stafford Loan and Federal Plus Loans (available through the FAFSA application) and offer low interest rates. You must demonstrate financial need to qualify for these loans.

Additionally, private loans allow you to borrow more funds above your federal loan limit, but they are generally more expensive than federal loans. Private loans are not sponsored by the government and usually have higher interest rates.


While a full- or part-time job while going to school can help you pay for additional expenses, there is another option. Work-Study is a federal program that provides students with part-time employment to help meet financial needs. This program gives students valuable work experience as they provide a service to the campus and community. You can become approved for work-study funds through the FAFSA application.

Scholarships and Third-Party Agencies

The Student Finance Department at Brightwood College can help find the right financial solution for you. Financial options may include scholarships and/or help from third-party agencies, depending on a student’s eligibility. Many students are not aware of all the scholarships available through third-party agencies. Brightwood College financial planning associates are available to help you locate and apply for any outside scholarships you may qualify for.

How to Apply for Financial Aid

First, you must complete the FAFSA online application.

After you have turned in your FAFSA application, apply for a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). It is a personal identifier that gives you access to your personal information on the U.S. Department of Education websites. Do not share your FSA ID because it also serves as your electronic signature on federal applications.

If you are a first-time borrower or a continuing student borrower, you can apply for a Direct Loan. You can apply for a Direct Loan by completing the FAFSA and by electronically signing a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

If you would like to sit down with a Brightwood College financial planning associate to determine your options for paying for school, call 866-543-0208 or fill out our information request form to have someone contact you.

Learn more about financial aid and paying for college or search our library of quick financial aid videos to find answers to your questions.

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1Financial Aid is available for those who qualify.