Step 2: Identify Sources of Funding

Overview: Types of Funding

Funds for your education come from two broad categories: self-funding and financial aid. Below is an overview of the different types of funding outlined on this page. Keep reading for tips on how to maximize your financial aid.

  • Self-Funding (you and your family)
    • Wages
    • Savings
  • Financial aid (provided by Mizzou, the government, and other institutions including private and public sources)
    • Gift Aid
      • Grants
      • Scholarships
    • Loans
      • Federal education loans
        • Subsidized loans
        • Unsubsidized loans
        • Parent PLUS loans
      • Private education loans

Maximizing Gift Aid

Each year, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) at Be sure to fill out your FAFSA® prior to the Mizzou priority deadline of February 1, 2024. NOTE: this is later than usual due to a delay in the release of the 2024-2025 FAFSA. Keep an eye on your student email and the Student Financial Aid website for updates.

Mizzou Scholarships


  • University of Missouri
  • Individual school or college
  • Department
  • Major or degree program


  • Merit
  • Need
  • Other qualifications

How to apply: Fill out your scholarship application in ScholarshipUniverse by the current and transfer student scholarship deadline of February 1, 2024 (note: this is later than past years due to the late FAFSA release).

External Scholarships

Apply for scholarships like it’s your job! If you spend 52 hours annually applying for scholarships, and earn just one $1000 scholarship, you’ve made $20/hr. It would take you >100 hours working a part-time job to make an equivalent amount.

Trusted external scholarship search engines
  • Fastweb
  • Big Future
  • Peterson’s
  • Cappex
  • Sallie Mae
  • Scholarship Monkey
  • CareerOneStep
  • Unigo
  • Chegg
  • BrokeScholar
  • MoolahSpot

Scholarship Tips

Eligibility for scholarships is usually based on one or more of the following factors:

  • Merit — test scores, GPA, class rank
  • Need — FAFSA and other financial information
  • Group Affiliation — examples include military families and students with disabilities

Application types include:

  • Automatic consideration — Mizzou considers all incoming students for automatic awards based on test scores and/or financial information
  • Competitive applications — applications for these scholarships require supplemental materials such as a resume, personal statement, or portfolio of work

Avoid Scams

  • Never pay to apply for a scholarship
  • Avoid scholarships listing a “money back guarantee”
  • Never provide bank information

Apply Efficiently

  • Update your resume (Mizzou’s Career Center can help!)
  • Prepare your personal statements (use the Writing Center!)
  • Identify references and ask for letters of recommendation
  • Apply for a scholarship if you meet most of the criteria
  • Apply for both large and small awards

Tap into Self-Funding: Wages

A minimum wage job paying $12 an hour will net approximately $135 per week for 15 hours of work.

Hourly wage vs. net pay after taxes

  • A $12/hr job pays about $9/hr after taxes
  • A $13/hr job pays about $9.75/hr after taxes
  • A $14/hr job pays about $10.50 after taxes

Benefits of Working in College

  • Grades
    • Working up to 15 hours per week can have a positive impact on your GPA, due to the need for better time management
  • Post-Graduation Employment
    • Transferrable skills gained through work could increase both your job prospects and the salary you earn after graduation
  • Wages
    • FICA taxes don’t apply to work performed by students at on-campus jobs during periods of enrollment
  • Flexibility
    • On-campus employers have a student-first mentality
  • Mentoring
    • Campus employers help student employees build professional skills and network in their field

Campus Job Resources

Understand Your Loan Options

Loan resources:

What are student loans?

A student loan (or educational loan) is money borrowed to pay for educational expenses. It is repaid with interest. The borrower may be the student or a parent or legal guardian.

Federal Loans
  • Source: U.S. Government via the FAFSA® application
  • No credit check required for student borrowers
  • Relatively low, fixed interest rate
  • Interest rate is set annually by the federal government and is not dependent on the borrower’s (yours or your parents’) credit score
  • Flexible repayment optnios
  • Repayment may be postponed during economic hardship
  • Options for loan forgiveness under certain circumstances
Types of Federal Loan
  • Subsidized (student)
    • Eligibility is need-based
    • Interest is paid by federal government while you are in school
  • Unsubsidized (student)
    • Interest is added to the loan balance while you are in school
  • PLUS (parent/guardian loan)
Private Loans
  • Source: banks or credit unions
  • Recommendation: private loans should be the last source of funding used to finance your education

Need Federal Loans? Follow these steps:

  1. File your FAFSA annually, ideally by Mizzou’s priority deadline
  2. Accept or decline available loans in myZou.
    • You can accept all, part, or none of the loan amount available to you.
    • Use subsidized loans before accepting unsubsidized loans.
  3. Final steps –
    • Direct Student Loans: Student must complete entrance counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
    • Parent PLUS Loan: Parents must apply for Parent PLUS loan on the Federal Student Aid website.
  4. The amount you’ve accepted, minus any origination fees (1% for Direct student loans), will be sent by Financial Aid to the Cashier’s Office to be applied to your bill. Any excess will be refunded to the bank account on your TouchNet account or a check will be mailed to your address on file.

Need Private Loans? Follow these steps:

  1. Compare vetted private lenders on the private loan lender list on Mizzou Financial Aid website
  2. If necessary, find a co-signer with strong credit.
    • Your interest rate is determined in part by their credit. Many private loans allow borrowers to release co-signers from the loan (usually after 12-36 on-time payments)
  3. Apply for a few loans to compare loan terms and rates.
    • Avoid variable rate loans. With these loans, your monthly payment will go up or down over time as interest rates change, making it difficult to anticipate how to budget for repayment.
    • Multiple student loan applications made in a short period of time (less than 2 weeks) will not hurt your credit score – lenders recognize that the applications are for comparison purposes.
  4. Select final choice and follow instructions from lender. Lender will send loan payment to Mizzou