The federal government gives money to colleges to pay students to work on or off campus during the academic year (part time) and in the summer (full time). Pell Grants — Federal...

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Federal Work-Study — The federal government gives money to colleges to pay students to work on or off campus during the academic year (part time) and in the summer (full time).

Pell Grants — Federal money for low-income students. Maximum award: $4,000.

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Perkins Loans — Low-interest loans for students with the most need. Maximum amount: $4,000 for undergraduates. Repayment begins nine months after graduation.

Stafford Loans — Low-interest student loans, both need- and non-need-based. First-year undergraduates are eligible for up to $2,625; second year, $3,500; third, fourth and fifth year, $5,500. Come in two forms: subsidized, need-based Stafford, where the government pays the interest while you’re in school and six months afterward; and unsubsidized, non-need-based Stafford, where you pay the interest.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants — These federal grants for low-income students range from $200 to $4,000 a year. Disbursed by the schools, the money goes fast, so it pays to apply (via FAFSA) early.

Washington Promise Scholarship — State and federal money awarded to low- and middle-income Washington students who maintain an excellent academic record throughout high school. Maximum award in 2003-04: $930.

Washington State Need Grants — State and federal aid to low-income students. Maximum award for 2004-05: $4,650 for students attending private, 4-year colleges.

Institutional Grants and Scholarships — The largest source of scholarships are colleges themselves.

Western Undergraduate Exchange — Washington residents can get a discount from out-of-state tuition at some Western state schools if they qualify. Qualifications differ among schools, but many take into account test scores and high-school GPA. Eligible students pay 150 percent of the school’s regular tuition, which is considerably less than nonresident tuition. www.wiche.edu/sep

Federal PLUS Loans — Unsubsidized loans made to creditworthy parents. Lets you borrow up to the cost of college, minus what you receive in financial aid. Interest is variable but never exceeds 9 percent. No collateral required. You must begin repayment 60 days after you receive the loan.

Merit scholarships — Based not on need but on a student’s academic or personal talents. Sometimes referred to as “discounts,” the scholarships often are used to entice students to attend.