Loans and scholarships: what’s the difference?

Students mainly use two forms of funding to pay for their college education: loans and scholarships. Scholarships are money given to a student based on specific characteristics, such as academic or athletic ability. Scholarship money should never be refunded. Loans are money borrowed by a student or their parents. The loan money must be repaid once a student graduates or leaves university. If loans are part of your college’s affordability plan, it is prudent to choose the ones with the lowest interest rate. Speak to the Office of Student Financial Planning for help determining which loan is best for your particular situation.

Other forms of aid that do not need to be repaid include grants (such as the opportunity scholarship) and, for state students, KEES money. Students may be eligible for this assistance based on factors such as their high school grades or overall financial need. It is important to file a FAFSA as soon as it opens each year in order to receive as much free money as possible, especially as state grants may run out.


When students apply for a loan, they have to go through a process called entry counseling. Students must also sign a principal promissory note for their loans. Financial planning cannot add loans to a student’s bill to help pay for college until the student takes these steps. To complete this process, you can check at Oak Park . You will need your FSA User ID and Password, which is the same information you use to file your FAFSA, to complete this process.

If a parent decides to take a Parent Plus charge and help their child pay for their college education, the parent should also visit oak park to apply for this office. They will also need their FSA user ID and password to complete the credit check process. If the parent is approved, they will also need to complete a primary promissory note. If the parent is refused, the student will be eligible for further unsubsidized loans in their own name.

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