|Loans: A loan is money that you (or your parents) borrow and must repay with interest to the lender. You may apply and qualify for federal direct loans, federally guaranteed loans from private lenders, institutional (college-backed) loans, or private loans. It’s important to know the differences between loan programs, terms for repayment, how interest and fees are calculated, and your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.
Grants: A grant is money that is awarded as financial aid that does not have to be repaid (unless, for instance, a student withdraws from school before the end of the term and owes a refund).
Scholarships: A scholarship is money that is awarded to a student who meets the criteria for the award. Scholarships may be a one-time award or renewable if a student meets set criteria. Many scholarships are based on some combination of leadership, financial need, and/or academic achievement. For entering college freshmen, high school averages and SAT/ACT scores are considered. Generally, scholarship money is not repaid, unless the student does not fulfill all requirements. Scholarships may be offered by a postsecondary institution, agencies, clubs and organizations, businesses, and individuals. Gwinnett high school students receive announcements regularly regarding the availability of scholarships and the criteria for selecting scholarship recipients.
Work-Study: Postsecondary work-study programs offer jobs to eligible students who show financial need and who must earn a part of their educational expenses. Work-study is offered as a portion of a student’s financial aid package. Federal work-study jobs may be on- or off-campus. Students are paid at least federal minimum wage for federal work-study jobs. Some colleges may offer or require work-study programs. Pay and available hours may vary for school-based programs.