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Types of Aid

There are many forms of aid that can help fund your college education. 

All financial aid requires you to be enrolled in courses that apply toward a program of study.

Some funds, including grants, are completely free to you.  Loans are required to be repaid.

Some types of financial aid might be taxable. To learn more visit the IRS Topic 421.


  • Grants do not have to be repaid if you complete the courses the grants covered.   If you do not start or complete your course(s) you may have to pay these funds back.  See dropping/withdrawing for information.
  • There are several grant programs available to students. Complete a FAFSA and your file is automatically reviewed to determine your eligibility for most awards, some have some additional steps.
  • Learn about grants on the Financial Aid Grants page and in this video 
  • A note about some special funding:  If you receive a state or federal grant that  covers 100% of your tuition, some or all of the funds received from funding you might receive from Pima County One Stop, AZ Department of Economic Security or the Tohono O'odham tribe will be returned per their policy


Scholarships are a great way to supplement your financial aid and reduce or eliminate your need to borrow student loans. Merit Scholarships are typically awarded to students with high grades or some other extraordinary achievement, such as volunteer work or participation in extracurricular activities, while need-based scholarships are typically based on the kind of financial information that is submitted on your FAFSA.

There are also scholarships based on specific criteria, such as where you were born, your program of study, a special skill you have, or the fact that you are returning to school after working for several years. 

To learn more, visit our scholarship pages.

Military and Veterans' Benefits

Current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents may also be eligible for Military and Veteran Benefits to help defray the cost of college.

GI Bill ® 

Tuition Assistance (TA)

Federal Work Study

Federal Work Study provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school to help pay your education expenses. Learn more about Federal Work Study in the Student Financial Aid Handbook.

The program encourages community service work and work related to your course of study.

Student Loans

Student Loans must be paid back (like a mortgage or car loan).  Student loans are generally not based on credit history or employment, they have low interest rates, offer in-school payment deferment while attending school at least half time, and flexible repayment plans.  You must complete the FAFSA  to be eligible for Direct Loans.

Direct Loans may be a better option than credit cards or private loans because they offer low interest rates and flexible repayment options.  Always be careful when considering debt as a solution to pay for education costs. You can find more information at the U.S. Dept. of Education Student Loans webpage.

At Pima, the following loans are available:

  • Student Direct Stafford Loans  (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
  • Parent Direct PLUS Loan
  • Private Student Loans for Higher Education

Learn more about student loans.

Early Book Purchase Program

Before the semester begins you can get your books up to 10 days in advance and begin preparing for class through Pima’s Early Book Purchase Program.  The Student Financial Aid Handbook provides additional details on this program.

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