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Financial Aid 101: Terms You Should Know

Alicia Robinson



You might think that applying for financial aid to attend nursing school is a difficult thing to do, but it really isn’t. Take a little time now to review some of the terms you're likely to see or hear during the financial aid process. You may find out that it's not as scary as you originally thought.

  • Federal student aid – These programs provide funding for students to attend eligible postsecondary schools, such as college or vocational school. The funding may come in grants, low-interest loans or work-study programs.

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – This application determines the amount of financial aid you are qualified for, in addition to the amount that you or your family are expected to contribute toward your tuition.

  • Tuition – This is the cost for your education. It doesn't include textbooks, room and board or additional fees.

  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – This is calculated from the financial information, such as income, assets or benefits that you have provided on your FAFSA application. The EFC amount is what you or your family’s contribution toward your education should be.

  • Financial need – This amount is also calculated from the results of your FAFSA application. After taking into consideration your EFC and any grants or scholarships you may receive out of the FAFSA, the remaining amount is what you may be eligible to receive in federal student aid.

  • Grants – A grant is free money that may come from the government, the school or from other private sources. You do not have to pay grant money back; therefore, it's important to get as many grants as possible when financing your education.

  • Loans – If grants are not enough to cover your education, you will need to take out a student loan. It is always best to apply for federal student loans first because you do not have to make payments while you are in school and the interest rate is usually lower than a bank loan.

  • Tuition reimbursement – Some employers may help subsidize the cost of your tuition if your studies are work-related.

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