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Paying for College Tuition

Congratulations, you’ve decided to go to school. Now you need to decide how you are going to pay for your college education. This page is full of information that can help you determine the types of financial aid available, how to apply, and what you can do to make paying for school more affordable.

Paying for School: What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is assistance used to pay school costs. There are many different types of aid that can help you pay for college tuition, including federal financial aid, scholarships, loans and military scholarships. A tuition calculator can help you determine how much money you’ll need to pay for school. Below is a list of the most common types of aid you could qualify for.*

Grants and Loans

Federal or State Grants

Grants are different from loans. Also called gift aid, grants do not have to be repaid, making them a desirable option when paying for school. Grants are awarded by federal and state governments.


Using loans like FAFSA to pay for college is the most popular financial aid option. Federal Stafford and Federal Plus Loans are backed by the federal government and offer low interest rates. You must demonstrate financial need to qualify for these loans. Alternative Loans are private loans that allow you to borrow additional funds above your federal loan limit. These types of loans are not sponsored by the government and typically have higher interest rates.

Paying for School Through Work and Work-Study

Working a full- or part-time job while attending college can help you pay for education costs such as books, supplies, and personal expenses. You might also want to consider work-study, which is a federal program that provides you with part-time employment to help you meet your financial needs. This program also gives you valuable work experience while you serve your campus and community. Work and work-study can reduce the amount of loans you take out while in school.

Scholarships and Third Party Agencies

Many schools offer a wide variety of financial options to help cover college tuition costs. These may include scholarships and/or assistance from third party agencies. We could help you find the scholarship, military scholarship, loan or other financial solution that is right for you. Please contact the Student Finance department for more information about all of these financial options.

For more about financial aid, download our Ultimate Guide to Paying for College!

How Do I Apply for Financial Aid?

The first step in seeking federal financial aid is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. This is a financial aid application form used for federal and state grants, work study, and loans and is necessary before you apply for a loan.

FAFSA on the Web

To apply for federal financial aid, you can complete, submit, and track your application on the FAFSA website at This is the easiest way to apply for federal aid. Make sure you fill in the correct Federal School Code on your FAFSA application. You can locate the Federal School Code by using the Search for School Codes link on the main page of the FAFSA website.


Once you submit your online FAFSA application, apply for a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). Your FSA ID is a unique personal identifier that gives you access to your personal information on U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID also serves as your electronic signature on federal applications so do not share it with anyone.

Before You Apply for Federal Financial Aid

We recommend that you have your income information available before filling out the FAFSA. Please note that you do not have to file your income tax return with the IRS before you fill out the FAFSA. Download our FAFSA Checklist to make sure you have everything you need before you apply.

What Happens After You Apply?

A few days after you submit your FAFSA, you should receive an email or mailed form from the U.S. Department of Education called a Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR contains the data you entered on the FAFSA. Review the SAR carefully for errors and submit any necessary corrections. Your SAR also contains information on what you are expected to contribute to your total college tuition costs. The Student Finance department can help explain to you the information on your SAR.

Paying for School: Applying for Loans

Loans let you pay your education expenses over a long period of time at a low (and often tax deductible) interest rate. Some loans are need based, while other loans are available to nearly everyone.

Federal Loans

Brightwood College students are eligible to apply for the Title IV federal student loan programs. Federal loans are generally lower interest rate loans offering students a grace period in which payments are not due, as well as multiple repayment plans. Subsidized and unsubsidized student loans are an option. For a subsidized student loan, the federal government covers the interest cost while the student is in college or has deferred payment on the loan. On an unsubsidized loan, interest begins accruing immediately. The school currently offers Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, and Parent Plus loans through the William D. Ford Direct Loan program with the U.S. Department of Education.

Whether you are a first-time borrower or a continuing student borrower, you may apply for a Direct Loan. Students can apply for a Direct Loan by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and by electronically signing a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Alternative Loans

Many banks offer alternative student loans. Rates and conditions vary, so it is important to review all available information. These lenders usually provide streamlined loan processing, competitive rates, and reliable service. Before you apply, use a college tuition calculator to determine how much money you’ll need for school expenses.

Military Tuition Rates

Reduced Tuition Rates for Military

Brightwood College is pleased to offer reduced tuition rates for qualifying military students. Please visit the Military Benefits page or request information about these opportunities.

Additional information on eligibility requirements, alternate financing, amounts available, interest rates, military scholarships, and repayment schedules is available from the Financial Aid Office.

Download for the Code of Conduct for student loans.

* Financial aid is available for those who qualify.