Grants. Think of a grant as the ultimate graduation gift, because you don't have to pay it back.
Pell Grants (federal aid) are awarded to low-income students and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) are for low-income students with exceptional financial need.
Cal Grants (state aid) are free money guaranteed to every high school senior that applies on time and meets income, eligibility and GPA requirements.
Work-Study. Work at a part-time job that may help you with a career, and use the earnings to help finance your education.
Scholarships. Free money for college, usually based on your area of study or merit, such as good grades, high test scores, athletic, musical or other special talents, community service and sometimes financial need.
Loans. Federal loans are low-interest loans that come in all shapes and sizes.
Perkins Loans are administered by the college and are for students with exceptional financial need.
Subsidized Stafford Loans are available to students who meet financial requirements and are attending school at least half-time. With this loan, the government pays the interest from when you get the loan money until you leave school. An unsubsidized Stafford Loan is available to any student regardless of financial need, but the student pays the interest.
PLUS Loans are available for the parents of students attending college.