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Alabama FOCUS
Money for Your Child's Education

There is money available for your child’s education—student financial aid. Student financial aid is money that helps pay the cost of attending college, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses.

A college’s financial aid office administers student aid programs. The office processes financial aid applications and provides counseling services for students and families seeking financial aid. The financial aid office is your best single source of information about financial aid.

The U.S. Department of Education publishes an excellent booklet describing federal student aid programs and information about application procedures. Click here to view The Student Guide: Financial Aid from the U.S. Dept. of Education.

Most financial aid comes in one of three basic forms.

  • Scholarships and grants – gift money that does not have to be repaid.

  • Loans – borrowed money which must be repaid. Loans for a college education are long-term and have relatively low interest rates. Repayment generally begins after college.

  • Work-Study – money earned by working part-time at the college or university the student attends.

Financial aid funds come from several sources.

  • The federal government is the largest single source of student financial aid funding. Almost all colleges participate in one or more of the federal financial aid programs.

  • State governments have financial aid programs to assist their state residents. In most cases, the funds must be used at a school in the state.

  • Colleges often have financial aid programs funded by tuition, endowments, or other sources. Private colleges are most likely to have large sums of their own money devoted to student scholarships and grants.

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