When planning how you are going to pay for your education, begin with financial aid available form the federal government. Aid is available through grants (money you don’t have to repay), work-study programs that provide part-time jobs on campus to earn money to help pay education expenses, and loans (this is money you will have to repay, with interest). It is important for you to understand financial aid, so learn the difference between the three types of aid.

The first step in applying for federal financial aid, is completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If you aren’t sure you even qualify for aid then check here

Now you understand the three types of Federal Student Aid, don’t overlook scholarships! Make sure you have explored the tab “Funding Opportunities at ECU” for scholarships (free money!) offered in your field of study. But you must apply! Someone is going to receive that free money – and it could be apply!

What exactly is a scholarship? It is free money given to deserving students who apply! There are hundreds of scholarships available, but you must make the effort to apply. If you want even more resources, check this out! No scholarship amount is too small! They add up, so APPLY!



Now that you have filled out the FAFSA®, and you have received notice of how much aid you are qualified to receive, and you have pursued the free money available through scholarships, you may determine that you need to borrow money for educational expenses. It is essential that you have a clear understanding of the obligation you undertaking before you take that step and apply for a loan. You will have to pay back the loan with interest added (whether federally or privately funded) so be financially savvy and understand the process of student loans and borrowing.

Is there a difference between a federal student loan and a private student loan? Absolutely! Make sure you understand the difference between the two.

Responsible borrowing is an important component of being financially healthy, so a little research now will pay off in the long’ll be glad you did! Federal Student Loans, Basics for Students is a great resource to help guide you into making wise financial decisions to fund your education.



Complete, and file the FAFSA, determine what federal financial aid you are qualified to receive, identify and apply for scholarships through ECU and other scholarship opportunities found through your research, and lastly, apply for a federal direct loan or private loan, only if needed. If your schedule allows, don’t forget to explore work-study or regular employment opportunities with ECU's Career Center.

Congratulations! You’ve almost completed the FLY@ECU Ground School! If you are enrolled in Freshman Seminar or another course that endorses the pursuit of financial literacy, then continue to the CashCourse tab under Ground School and begin your assignments. If you are increasing your financial literacy through self-study, then also continue to the CashCourse tab, create a free account, then choose the topic “Pay for Education”. You are on your way to charting a successful financial journey!


Useful Resources

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