What is the difference between student loans and grants?

As you begin your research while preparing to submit college applications, it is necessary for each student to understand the differences between loans and grants. It is also essential to understand the qualifications for those financial aid options. While both of these options do the same thing—namely provide students with the funds they need to attend college—there are some distinct differences as well. In short, you have to pay back a student loan at some point—usually beginning ten months after graduation unless you qualify for a deferment—while grants do not require repayment.


Grants can be derived from either public or private sources and have the sole intent of providing money for students to pursue a college education.  However, most of the grants have qualifications the student must meet. There is a great deal of competition involved in applying for grants simply because there are so many students applying for them. This means as a potential student you have to do something to set yourself apart from other applicants such as writing an award-winning essay or having a high GPA. You may discover there are many different types of grants, and these grants have different qualifications.

The Pell Grant

The Pell Grant is the most well known federal grant to which students have access. The Pell Grant s awarded by the federal government to low-income undergraduate students and a small number of postgraduate students. The amount of the grant is contingent upon several factors including your income, enrollment status and the college tuition at the school you may be attending.  While you may not need to repay the grant, you will still need to fill out the FASFA just as you do for a federal student loan.

Making the Comparison Between Grants and Loans

Grants do not have to be repaid, and though they are the more desirable type of financial aid, they are difficult to obtain because the competition is so fierce. In addition various grants include many different restrictions including gender, ethnic origin, income and military background. Student loans—especially federal student loans—are available to anyone who wishes to apply.

Since grants do not usually cover the entire cost of your education but only a specific amount of money, you may wish to apply for as many grants as you possibly can in order to reduce the amount of your student loans. The less you need to borrow, the better your chances are of completing your education without worrying about being seriously in debt.

We're sorry, we currently do not have any Online schools. We are working diligently to add more schools to our database. In the meantime, please click here to see if there are any Campus Schools in your area.

Find Campus Schools

Related Articles

Top Searched Schools

University of Phoenix DeVry University Florida Tech University Online

Quick School Search