Paying for College » What is Financial Aid?

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid helps students and their families pay for college. This financial assistance covers educational expenses including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. There are several types of financial aid, including grants and scholarships, work study and loans. Financial aid awards may include a combination of the various types of aid.

Find more information in the UH Community College System Guide to Financial Aid.

Tuition Payment Plan (NEW)

Students must be registered for the current semester to sign up for the payment plan. This payment plan is not available to inactive students who owe money for prior semesters and have been referred to the collection agency. Learn more about the payment plan.

Grants - Scholarships - Tuition Waivers

These are “free” monies that do not need to be repaid. Grants, also known as “gift aid,” are funds awarded to students often based on their financial need. Scholarships are a form of aid with specific requirements such as talents, merit, ethnicity and major.

Work Study

Money earned at an on- or off-campus job associated with the college that will help pay for educational expenses. The program provides jobs for students with financial need and encourages community service work and work related to a student’s field of study. (Student Employment and Cooperative Education Website


Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Low-interest loans are offered by participating private lenders under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, or the U.S. government under the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program.

• Federal Stafford Loans are offered in two forms, subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are awarded on the basis of financial need and students pay no interest on the loan until they enter a repayment period 6 months after they have either stopped attending classes or dropped below half-time status. Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need and students are responsible for paying accrued interest throughout the life of the loan.

• Parent PLUS loans are available to parents of undergraduate students.

• Perkins loans are offered to students who demonstrate the greatest need and are available at participating schools that act as lenders for the loans. Students pay no interest on the loan until they enter a repayment period 9 months after they either stopped attending classes or drop below half-time status. Not all community colleges offer this loan, so you may want to check with the college of your choice.

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