How Financial Aid for College Really Works  

Obtaining an undergraduate degree is more expensive than ever. According to Student Debt Relief, tuition at a four-year private college costs an average of $34,740. North Greenville University costs well below the national average. With a tuition cost of $19,750 per academic year, NGU is consistently rated among the most economical private universities to attend.  

To attend college, the vast majority of students will need to seek financial aid. There are three primary sources for financial aid: government scholarships, private scholarships, and student loans. This article is designed to help high school students who are interested in attending NGU to learn more about their financial aid options and how they work.  

Federal student aid is available through FAFSA, the online application from the Department of Education. According to FAFSA, the primary requirement for receiving federal financial aid is demonstrating financial need. Students can accomplish this by filling out the free FAFSA Application online. Every student should fill out a FAFSA application regardless of their family’s income.  

Students who are residents of South Carolina can earn financial aid through the state government. Although South Carolina offers some aid based on financial need, most scholarship money is awarded based on merit. These merit-based scholarships include HOPE, LIFE, and Palmetto Fellows scholarships. A student’s GPA, SAT, and ACT scores are taken into consideration. This information should encourage students to earn good grades and strive to do well on standardized tests. 

Institutional scholarships are a form of financial aid awarded by each academic institution. They are not transferable between colleges and often have very specific requirements. For example, students at NGU can earn scholarship money if they perform in a music ensemble or play on a sports team. NGU currently offers about 35 private scholarships which are automatically given to students who qualify. Because of the wide range of institutional scholarships offered by NGU, most students are eligible for at least one of these scholarships. 

There are many online resources which help students find private financial aid outside the institution they attend. is a popular resource that matches students with potential financial aid. There are thousands of private scholarships available online, but some only offer a small amount of aid. Students should search for the best scholarships to apply to in order to save time.  

Student loans are often viewed as a last-ditch effort to pay for college, but not all student loans are the same. They are often viewed as undesirable because of their interest rates. Federal student loans have set interest rates which are typically lower than private student loans. However, federal loans are more difficult to obtain. Private loan interest rates can be greater than ten percent. Let’s say a student borrows $20,000 in student loans to attend college. The average graduate will take close to 20 years to pay off their debt. With a ten percent interest rate, that graduate would have spent over $46,000 by the time their loans were paid off ($20,000 for the loan + $26,300 for interest alone).  

While student loans are often necessary in the short term, students should seek to earn as much scholarship money as possible to make their education more economical in the long term. Through hard work and strategic planning, students can earn more financial aid to attend college. Attending college affordably begins by taking the right steps in high school.  

For more information about financial aid, visit  

Written by Office of Marketing and Communications Intern Carson Myers. 



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