Financial Aid Basics
Navigating financial aid for college can be confusing for families. We're here to guide you through the process.
What is financial aid?
Financial aid is money to help you pay for college. It doesn’t come out of your savings or earnings.
Financial aid has two main categories: need-based aid and merit-based aid. Need-based aid is awarded based on your ability to pay for college. Merit-based aid is given based on talent or ability, such as academics and music.
At Luther College, we offer both need-based aid and merit-based aid to our students.
What are the types of financial aid for college?
Grants are free financial aid that you don’t have to pay back. They can be offered by the state and federal government or from your school. Grants are a need-based type of aid.
Scholarships are also free aid dollars. They are generally merit-based, but some also have a need-based aid component. Some scholarships are granted upon admission, but there are others you can apply for separately.
The federal work-study program funds part-time jobs for students who qualify. Luther also offers additional funding for work-study positions so that all students who are eligible to work in the United States can find a work-study job on campus.
Federal student loans are special loans for students from the government. These loans can have fixed interest rates, income-based repayment plans, and be subsidized. They are a need-based type of aid.
Private student loans are loans from a bank or credit union. Each lender will set its own terms and conditions, which will often be based on your credit score. They are designed to pay any balance that remains after the financial aid offer. Many private student loans will allow the borrow to select a fixed or variable rate of interest. They are not a need-based type of aid.
Do I qualify for need-based financial aid?
Determine how much financial aid you qualify for by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You must fill out a FAFSA to be considered for federal aid as well as for certain college and state assistance.
The FAFSA is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), or the money your family is expected to be able to pay towards your education in a given year. This will help determine how much aid you will receive from Luther.
While international students are not eligible for state or federal grants, you are still eligible for need-based aid and academic scholarships at Luther.
Undocumented and DACA Students
We encourage students to apply regardless of citizenship status. While you are not eligible for state or federal aid, you still qualify for Luther’s merit-based scholarships and may have access to additional financial aid.
Net Price Calculator
Want an estimate of how much a Luther education will cost you? Use our Net Price Calculator to estimate how much financial aid you might qualify for.
What is a financial aid offer?
Schools create financial aid offers for accepted students to show the cost of attendance for one academic year. It includes any eligible grants, scholarships, and loans.
When you are accepted to Luther College, you will find out what Luther merit scholarships you would be awarded based on your application. Once you file a FAFSA, you will receive a complete financial aid offer with information about grants, loans and other aid. If you filed your FAFSA previous to your acceptance, then will receive your complete financial aid offer more quickly.
Your financial aid offer from Luther is based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by FAFSA. If your EFC is less than the total cost of a Luther education, you will be eligible for financial aid.
Need more help?
Contact the Luther Financial Aid Office with any questions you may have. We would love to walk you through this process.
Email: Financial Aid