Paying for School

Financial aid is monetary support that enables students to overcome the economic barriers of higher education.  Financial aid is offered by national governments as well as by the educational institution to which you are applying.

Forms of Financial Aid

Grants are essentially “free money” that is not required to be paid back; they are awarded based on financial need. 

Scholarships are also considered “free money” and do not need to be paid back, but they are usually awarded based on academic performance or other criteria that exclude or include certain individuals. 

Loans are borrowed money that needs to be repaid plus any interest accrued.  Some governments offer a subsidized loan program.  Subsidized loans are loans for which the government pays the interest on the loan until the student drops below a certain level of credit hours (determined by the government) or graduates—at which point the borrower is required to pay the principal back, as well as any interest that is newly accrued.  Loans—subsidized or not—are required to be repaid. 

Work-study is a program in which funds are given by a government or an institution to employ students in work on-campus to help students pay for their own educational experience.  

National Government and Educational Institutions

Each national government and school has developed its own criteria for awarding financial aid.  Contact the nearest Church employment resource center or self-reliance center for specific financial aid resources in your area. 

Where do I find financial aid information?

  • Search your government’s Web site.
  • Search your educational institution’s Web site.
  • Contact your school.

Education and financial aid information is one of the three areas of focus in which wards and stakes can provide assistance to individuals.  One of the best sources of help comes from within ward and stake units, by utilizing the knowledge gained by parents and students who have most recently applied for financial aid.

Perpetual Education Fund

The Perpetual Education Fund is available to members of the Church, primarily returned missionaries, to attend school in their communities. The Perpetual Education Fund provides a loan to help the participant go to school so as to be able to find better employment. The loan is to be repaid with smaller payments while attending school and larger payments after leaving school. The Perpetual Education Fund is available only in certain countries.  Speak with your bishop or branch president to learn more.

When and How Must I Apply?

Each country and institution has a different process for financial aid applications and awards.

Be sure to:

  • Become aware of deadlines.
  • Know how your country’s system of financial aid works.
  • Complete all paperwork in an accurate and timely manner.
  • Follow up on your applications.

Things to Carefully Consider

Completing applications for financial aid is time consuming and can be confusing, resulting in the desire to “have someone else do it for us.”  When considering using a service to help you find financial aid, be sure to research the company carefully and determine that they are reputable and can provide the results they say they will. A few warning signs to watch for when working with companies that provide financial aid assistance are:

  • Guarantees to find you a bigger pot of financial aid
  • Promises to turn up scholarships that you can’t find elsewhere
  • Invitations to attend “free” seminars that turn out to be high-pressure sales pitches
  • Statements that promise parents an edge in the competition for college aid

Most school counselors can help individuals complete the necessary financial aid and scholarship forms. Often college and public libraries host free financial aid workshops, and additional financial aid information is available at the nearest Church employment resource center or self-reliance center.


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