A college education remains the most reliable path to gainful employment — but paying for it can be a struggle. Thankfully, there are a variety of options for covering tuition, books, and other necessary expenses. As explained in the below financial aid breakdown guide by Carrington.edu, common options include scholarships, grants and loans.

Which is best for your situation?

Keep reading to find out.


Often merit-based, scholarships are offered by a variety of schools and organizations. They may range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. No repayment is necessary, making them a desirable option for students who wish to avoid debt.


Grants are similar to scholarships in that they do not have to be repaid, but eligibility is generally based on need, rather than merit. Typically, grants are offered by the federal government, state government, or the institution the student wishes to attend.

College Loans

There are federal and private student loans. Open to the greatest range of students, college loans must eventually be paid back with interest. Some graduates are granted forgiveness for federal student loans in exchange for entering public service positions.

Many students cover tuition with a combination of loans, grants, and scholarships. Think carefully as you determine which approach will provide the greatest long-term payoff.

This post and infographic was provided courtesy of Carrington College.

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