PAYING FOR COLLEGE
Learn about grants, FAFSA, scholarships, work-study programs, and student loans.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT WAYS I CAN PAY FOR COLLEGE?
Use this information, as well as the Paying for College guide, to help you explore the different funding options available—from scholarships and grants to work-study and student loans.
Grants are usually provided by the state or federal government. They don't have to be repaid and are based on financial need (determined by the FAFSA). One of the most common grants is the Federal Pell Grant.
Student loans are money you borrow for college that you have to pay back—even if you don’t graduate.
If you’re eligible to receive grants or take part in the work-study program, always use those funds first. Apply for as many scholarships as possible and use college savings before deciding to borrow student loans. If you do decide to take out student loans, explore federal student loans first (through submitting your FAFSA), as they often have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options compared to private loans.
Learn more about the kinds of student loans there are on the Federal Student Aid website.
Work-study allows eligible students to earn money through a part-time job. Work-study jobs are usually on campus, have flexible hours, come with financial aid benefits, and give you work experience related to your major in college (such as working in a chemistry lab or campus business office). Check with the financial aid office at your college to find out more.
529 College Savings Plans
529 college savings plans are designed to encourage saving for future qualified higher education expenses, such as tuition and fees, books and supplies, and room and board. my529 is Utah’s official 529 educational savings plan. my529 has been helping families across the United States invest for higher education for more than 20 years. my529 funds may be used for qualified higher education expenses, which also include K-12 tuition expenses, qualified education loan repayments and registered apprenticeships.
Learn more at my529.org
Scholarships are financial awards you apply for based on criteria such as academic achievement, talent, financial need, etc.
The State of Utah offers four major scholarships. These scholarships include two academic scholarships, the Regents’ Scholarship, and New Century Scholarship; one need-based scholarship called Utah Promise; and one scholarship for future educators, the T.H. Bell Education Scholarship.
*Undocumented students, with and without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), can attend college in Utah! Utah high school graduates do not need to provide proof of citizenship to qualify for privately funded scholarships. For a comprehensive list of privately funded scholarships in Utah, visit educate-utah.org.
Completing and submitting your FAFSA (The Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the single most important thing you can do to get help paying for college. Based on the FAFSA, colleges will award students different types of federal financial aid.
WHERE DO I SUBMIT THE FAFSA?
You can complete the FAFSA at FAFSA.gov or through the myStudentAid phone app.
WHERE CAN I GET HELP WITH THE FAFSA?
Your high school counselor can help you submit your FAFSA. You can also use our FAFSA DIY kit for Students and Families.
DO NOT use any website or app other than FAFSA.gov or myStudentAid to submit your FAFSA. There are other sites that will try to get you to pay in order to submit your FAFSA. It does not cost you any money to submit your FAFSA!
You must have a FSA ID in order to sign and submit your FAFSA. If you are a dependent student, at least one of your parents will need a FSA ID as well. Only create your own FSA ID! Create your FSA ID on the Federal Student Aid website.
WHAT DO I NEED TO SUBMIT THE FAFSA?
Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned; check the Federal Student Aid website to see which year’s tax returns and W-2s you will need.
If you are a dependent student, you will also need your parents' tax information
Your Social Security Number
Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
An FSA ID to sign electronically