Types of Financial Aid

Financial aid is the term used to describe the different types of funding you can use to help cover the cost of attendance. And the easiest way to think of these types of aid, is by breaking them down into two basic categories – money you don't have to pay back and money you borrow.

When it comes to paying for college, most students use a combination of resources. These resources can also include student employment, like the Federal Work Study, and military educational benefits.

To qualify, and to give yourself the best chance for all available aid, you (and your contributors, if applicable) are required to submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. All students who submit a completed FAFSA will qualify for federal loans.

Money you don't have to pay back

Scholarships and grants are known as “gift aid” in the financial aid world because it’s money you don’t have to pay back. 


BGSU offers a variety of scholarship opportunities, with more than $30 million awarded annually. Scholarship awards are based on a variety of criteria, including field of study, community service and financial need. Awards range from $300 to total fees and do not have to be repaid.

BGSU Scholarship Resources

You are also encouraged to seek scholarship opportunities outside of BGSU — through your high school, community organizations, local businesses, corporations, foundations, civic groups or family members’ workplace.

The State of Ohio also offers scholarship opportunities that can be found on the Ohio Department of Education website

Scholarship opportunities are available to continuing BGSU students throughout their academic journey. The BGSU General Scholarship application can be found annually by logging in to MyBGSU > Scholarship Opportunities when it opens yearly on Oct. 1. All students are encouraged to apply annually for scholarship consideration.


Grants are typically need-based and are available from state and federal governments, private and nonprofit organizations, career schools and colleges.

The U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of different grants for students attending four-year institutions like BGSU. The FAFSA must be filed annually to be considered for any federal grant. All grants for which you are eligible will appear on your award offer once available.


Grants do not require repayment unless you withdraw from your courses. Learn more on our grant refund and withdrawl facts wepage.

The State of Ohio offers many different grants opportunities that can be found on the Ohio Department of Education website

Please note: This resource links to a website not supported by BGSU.

Money you borrow, and have to repay...

Loans are considered "self-help aid" and can help you finance the investment of a college education, but they vary and fall within two different categories – federal loans and private loans.

When considering a loan, remember to borrow only what you need, be aware of the total loan cost (principal + fees + accrued interest) so you know what you must repay, and make payments whenever you can (even small amounts) to decrease what you’ll pay in interest over time.

Federal Loans

Federal loans usually offer a lower interest rate and have more flexible repayment options than private loans. Because of this, we recommend exploring your federal loan options first. The federal government offers loans for students and parents, and to be considered for either, the FAFSA must be filed annually.

Private Loans

Private student loans should be explored after all other options have been exhausted due to historically higher interest rates compared to federal loans. Private loans are issued through banks or other private lending agencies of your choice, must be applied for annually, and interest will accrue until paid in full.

Work while taking classes

You can start earning money and paying for the cost of attendance before you graduate. BGSU employs over 4,000 students thoughout the year who earn an average of $1,400-$2,800 per semester, working between 10 to 20 hours a week.

Student employment is a valuable resource you can leverage to help you pay for college tuition, fees, books/supplies and other education-related expenses. Student employment, including Federal Work Study, is not applied directly to your bill but is received as a paycheck every two weeks.

On-campus Jobs

Through Student Employment Services, all BGSU students can access job postings through the University’s online employment portal, Handshake, after attending orientation and receiving their class schedule.

Federal Work Study

Students who demonstrate financial need, based on the FAFSA, may qualify to work on campus through the Federal Work Study (FWS) program. Learn more about FWS and how it differs from other on-campus student employment.

America Reads Program

Students who are eligible for Federal Work Study can work on campus or participate in the America Reads program––where they tutor in local elementary schools.

Military Education Benefits

Military benefits come from a variety of resources including federal and state departments like the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and the state of Ohio.

Students who are currently serving Active Duty in the military are eligible for financial aid including Tuition Assistance (TA), Federal Grants, Loans and Work Study. Below, are a few things to note if you're planning to utilize military benefits:

  • TA funds are a source of financial aid for eligible Service members
  • Students must receive approval from an Education Service Officer (ESO) or counselor within the military prior to enrolling for courses
  • A financial aid advisor can provide information about loans, grants and Work Study but will refer students to their ESO for more information about TA benefits.

For more detailed information including a list of military benefits, contact Nontraditional and Military Student Services.

Types of military aid

Updated: 03/28/2024 12:38PM