Financial aid refers to specific borrowed, given or earned money that can be obtained from various sources to pay for school. There are many types of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, Federal Work-Study programs, loans, and fellowships. Financial aid can come from the state or federal government.
Graduate and professional schools also offer financial assistance to their students. The financial aid office on campus is the best place to find out about financial aid (those programs listed above, plus internships and cooperative education) available at that particular school.
Many agencies, associations, and organizations (for example, corporations, civic, religious, and philanthropic groups, and associations connected with your field of interest) provide dollars for graduate and professional school students. There are different eligibility requirements, award amounts, application forms, and application deadlines for each type of financial aid, so research these carefully. Some scholarships may require the applicant to have the special skills to write an essay, build a model, or even audition. To aid in your search, College Zone and IllinoisMentor provide links to several scholarship search services. As you're searching, be alert to financial aid scams.
Make sure to explore all avenues and to reapply for financial aid every year.