Financial aid is usually awarded on the basis of financial need. (Scholarships are the exception.) Financial need is the difference between the cost of attending a college (tuition, fees, books, room and board) and the amount a family can afford. For example, if a family can afford $7,000 and the cost of attending a college is $22,000, the student has a financial need of $15,000. To apply for financial aid, families must complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Take out a loan Students who need additional money to pay for college often take out a loan. The government has some excellent low-interest loan programs for college students and their parents. College students can get a Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan. Repayment of these loans doesn’t begin until after a student graduates or leaves college. Parents of college students can also get a PLUS Loan. For information on these loans, go to www.finaid.org. Work to earn money Many college students get a part-time job on campus or in the surrounding community to help pay for their education. Students who qualify for financial aid may be offered a job through a work-study program as part of their financial aid package.