Types of Financial Aid

General Information

The Office of Financial Aid is committed to assisting each student find appropriate ways to finance their Winthrop University education. The following information details the types of aid available, as well as steps to take to make the most of aid opportunities. Please refer to the FAQs or contact the Office of Financial Aid if you need more information.

Categories of Financial Aid
Searching for Aid
Need-Based Aid
Federal and Other Programs to Help
Non Need-Based Programs
Payment Plans

Categories of Financial Aid

Winthrop University administers both need-based student financial aid and merit-based assistance. About 60% of the $57 million administered by the University is based on financial need, with the remainder based on achievement, skills, and abilities. Whether aid is need-based or merit-based, there are two distinctive types:

  1. Gift Aid
    - carries no repayment or service requirement
    - consists of typically grants and scholarships
  2. Self-Help
    - requires repayment or service in return (typically loans and employment)


As you begin your search for the right college, you should also begin your search for all available financial aid. First, you need to understand what is included when you hear the term 'financial aid.' Financial aid includes merit-based aid and need-based aid.

Merit-based awards, usually in the form of scholarships, may be determined in a variety of ways. Some are academic, while others are awarded on talent.

Need-based awards, including grants, student loans and employment are determined using your family's financial situation, including income, assets, and number of family members.

Searching for Aid

Merit-Based Aid
Competition is keen in the world of merit-based aid. There are always more qualified applicants than awards.

  • Use colleges' printed materials and websites to determine scholarships they offer for which you are qualified.
  • Visit the Scholarship Search websites (several are listed at Resources). Enter your information as requested for the searches.
  • Review your state scholarship requirements to determine if you qualify, and if so, how to apply.
  • Check out the application procedures and pay close attention to the scholarship application deadlines.
  • Make sure you meet the requirements and follow the application procedures correctly.
  • Be realistic in your expectations. Continue to explore need-based aid and other options.

Need-Based Aid

Applying for need-based aid is somewhat more structured than the merit-based process. A common application used by all colleges to determine your eligibility, known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available online.

  • Visit college websites to obtain information about need-based programs. Also check to see if they require any forms in addition to the FAFSA. Note priority filing dates.
  • Estimate your eligibility for need-based aid using one of the calculators on the various financial aid information websites.
  • Complete the FAFSA as soon after October 1 when you have accurate tax information.
  • Follow the FAFSA instructions exactly. Pay particular attention to directions regarding whose income is to be reported and who can be counted as a family member.
  • List federal code numbers of all schools you wish to receive your application data.
  • FAFSA's are completed electronically. Create a FSA User ID to use in this process. Both the parent who provides information and the student must have a FSA ID.
  • Respond promptly to requests for additional information and/or documents.
  • Investigate available alternatives, including tuition payment plans and Parent Loans. Receiving aid for full cost is rare.

Federal and Other Programs to Help

Winthrop University participates in the following major financial aid programs:

Federal Direct Loans — Available to all students enrolled in a degree program who are US citizens or eligible non-citizens. The maximum loan amounts for an academic year are $3500 for freshmen, $4500 for sophomores, $5500 for juniors and seniors, and $20,500 for graduate students. Students considered to be independent of parental support for financial aid purposes qualify for increased loan amounts.

Federal Pell Grant — Available to all undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's degree and who meet the federal government's eligibility formula. Pell Grants range from $761 to $7395 for the 2023-2024 school year.

Federal TEACH Grant — Under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress established legislation to offer additional grant funds to students pursuing an undergraduate, graduate or certification in an eligible education program.

Other Grants — Winthrop receives funds through the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and South Carolina Need-Based Grant programs. These funds are awarded to the neediest students who complete their FAFSAs by November 1.

Federal Work-Study — Eligible students are awarded funds through this program. These students may work part-time on the campus and are paid for hours worked every two weeks. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student's course of study. The rate of pay set for work study jobs is at least the federal minimum wage. Higher wages may be set, depending upon the type of work to be performed and skill required. View the federal work-study job opportunities available now on the HR job posting website.

Non Need-Based Programs

Student Loans
Regardless of a family's ability to pay college costs, any degree seeking student who is a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen may be eligible to receive a federal student loan. For students with financial need determined by the FAFSA, the loan is subsidized, which means the federal government will pay the interest while the student is enrolled at half time in school. Students who do not have financial need may borrow an unsubsidized loan. For these loans, the student is responsible for the interest while enrolled in school.

The financial aid award will notify you whether your loan is subsidized, unsubsidized, or a combination of both.

Various scholarships are available for the college-bound.

Payment Plans
Winthrop University offers a payment plan to assist families in managing the cost of college. Winthrop offers an Equal Payment Plan with four payments each semester. Information on this program is available through Student Financial Services. While interest is not charged for this program, there is a small fee per semester for setting up your account.

Parent Loans
In addition to student loans, parent loans are available. Parents of dependent students may borrow through the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program any amount up to the cost of attendance less any financial aid received by the student. The interest rate is fixed at 6.28%. Repayment begins after the loan is disbursed and can take up to 10 years. For more detailed information and applications, contact the Winthrop University Office of Financial Aid or visit Parent Loans.

Private Loans
Students who have used all of their federal aid eligibility may apply for aid from one of the private loan programs. Information is available at Private Loans.

Student employment opportunities exist on the campus. You may visit the Center for Career Development and Internships' Handshake website for non-Federal campus or off-campus employment opportunities.

Students may not receive aid from all sources which would exceed the established cost of attendance.