There are four primary forms of financial aid: grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. Grants come from your higher education institution or state and federal governments. Grants do not need to be repaid and are usually based on financial need.
Specific to the University of Colorado System, the CU Promise offers eligible students a financial aid award package that includes a combination of grants, scholarships and work-study that will fund the student’s tuition, fees and book expenses. Aid is also available for students enrolled in summer school.
Scholarships also do not need to be repaid and can come from government entities, higher education institutions and private companies. They can be awarded based on need, academic and athletic achievement, community involvement and service and many other factors.
Work-study allows a student to earn money for college costs while enrolled and working in a part-time job. Loans are money that you or your parents borrow from a bank, private lender, or government. Loans do need to be repaid and will come with interest that sometimes accrues from the day you take out the loan, and sometimes accrues after you receive your degree. Loans from the government usually have lower interest rates and give you a longer amount of time to pay back.
Grants are a type of financial aid award that you don’t need to repay. Students must be enrolled at least half-time to receive the grant unless specified.
For low-income Colorado residents, CU Denver offers a special financial aid package to fund the student share of tuition, fees, and book expenses.
Work-study is a financial aid award that allows undergraduate and graduate students to work part-time to earn money to pay for educational expenses.
Both of these options can help you pay for school. Let's look at the differences between them and how they work.