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More than 185 billion financial aid dollars are available to college students.
These are the main sources: government funds, colleges and universities, and private sources.
There are three main types of financial aid: scholarships and grants, loans, and work-study.
The most coveted are scholarships and grants. These are considered free.
Government grants awards are based on financial need.
There are thousands of scholarships available from private sources.
Loans are money you borrow and promise in writing to pay back.
The government offers different types of low-interest loans.
Work-Study is a federal program that offers students campus-based part-time employment.
The first step to qualify for government aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).