Grants and Scholarships

Grants and Scholarships are funds that do not have to be repaid. Grants are typically need-based. Scholarships can be both need and merit-based. Scholarships are similar to grants in that they don’t need to be repaid. Scholarships sometimes have conditions that must be met and maintained in order to continue to receive the scholarship in the future. Students should seek out and apply for any grants and scholarships for which they have eligibility.

Subsidized Loans

This is a type of federal loan for undergraduate students with financial need. The maximum loan amount is calculated based on the cost of attendance, expected family contribution, and other factors (such as grants and scholarships). Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while the student is in school at a minimum of half-time status.

Unsubsidized Loans

This type of federal loan for both undergraduate and graduate students is not based on financial need. Eligibility is determined by the cost of attendance and availability of other financial aid (such as grants or scholarships). Interest does accrue from the time the loan is issued.

Private Loans

This type of loan is not a federal loan and is issued by a lender such as a bank, credit union, or a state agency. Private loans typically have a variable interest rate, meaning that the interest rate may change over time. Credit checks are a part of the private loan process and the interest rate charged reflects the credit rating. Private loans are available in greater amounts than federal loans, but can never be forgiven.

Loan TypeInterest RateCredit Check?Subsidized?Income-Based Repayment?Can the Loans be Forgiven?
Federal Student Loans: Title IV (available through the Government)Lower and FixedNoSometimesYesSometimes (through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007)
Private Student Loans (available through banks, credit unions, and other financial institutionsHigher and VariableYesNoNoNo

In most circumstances, it benefits the student to accept all grants and scholarships. Students may accept anywhere from zero to the maximum loan amount for which they qualify. Subsidized federal loans are especially beneficial as the interest rate does not accrue while the student is enrolled at a minimum of half-time status.

In summary, federal student loans offer some benefits when compared to private loans. There is no credit check required, the interest rate is typically lower than private loans, and the interest rate is fixed for federal loans. Subsidized federal student loans are a great option because the interest does not accumulate until the student graduates or stops attending.

Income-based payments are possible with federal loans. Under certain circumstances, loan forgiveness is possible with federal student loans. Income-based payment and loan forgiveness are not possible for private loans. There may be circumstances when the higher loan amounts of private loans might be beneficial.

Cohort Default Rate

Fiscal YearNumeratorDenominatorDefault RateNational Average

Default is when no payments have been made on the loan in 270 days.

Military/Veteran Benefits

Military/veteran benefits may be utilized by those who have served or who are currently serving in the United States Armed Services, their spouses and dependents, and/or their surviving family members. There are several different military/veteran benefits available to many of our learners.

Tuition Reimbursement/Employer Assistance

Tuition reimbursement/employer assistance includes a variety of employer-sponsored programs to help employees and their dependents pay for college. Many employers who offer a tuition assistance program pay the full cost of the employee’s tuition, lab fees, and textbooks. Others pay a portion of the employee’s educational expenses with specific grade requirements.

In most cases, employers have an annual cap for the amount of tuition assistance and the funds received from these programs will be excluded from income and hence tax-free.