A grant is a monetary gift which does not need to be repaid. Regardless of your background, there are numerous grants available to attend college. In the educational sphere, grants are also commonly referred to as scholarships. Grants come in varied amounts, from as little as one hundred dollars to thousands of dollars provided each academic school year. In addition, there are both government grants for school and private grants for school. Each organization sets specific criteria for obtaining a grant.
Among the most common types of grants are government grants for college which usually require completing one simple application, the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Government grants are awarded to first-time students just graduating from high school as well as adult students who have never attended college or are returning after a period of time. To apply for most government grants, you will need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Below are a few of the top government grants to consider.
The Pell Grant is likely the most popular of the government grants for college. Federal student aid is distributed to schools who then allocate the Pell Grant to students accordingly.
Eligibility for the Pell Grant is determined by your Expected Family Contribution. Keep in mind that if you are unmarried or under a certain age, your parent’s income will be incorporated into your EFC. This means that if your EFC is in the middle class range or higher, your chances of receiving the Pell Grant are slim.
In past years, the Pell Grant has issued a maximum financial award of $5,500 per school year. This will cover most if not all tuition expenses at a public university or community college for many students. In addition to qualifying financially students will need to attend school at least half-time (deemed as 6 credits or more per semester) and maintain satisfactory academic progress (a student may not be on academic probation).
The following federal grants are available to students who need additional funding in addition to the Pell Grant:
For high-achieving high school students in the first or second year of their academic program, the Academic Competitiveness Grant provides much needed financial assistance in addition to other types of aid. In order to qualify, high school students would normally need to complete an academically challenging college-preparatory curriculum in high school with a “B” or better average (3.0 GPA) and demonstrate financial need.
To apply for this grant, students would also use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant provides additional funding to college students who would be otherwise unable to attend a college or university. The FSEOG program is available in addition to the Pell Grant. Students apply using the FAFSA.
In addition to federal grants, your college may offer state grants that can reduce or eliminate the cost of college. In California, the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver is a state grant that waives tuition fees for eligible students enrolled in a California community college. In order to receive the award, students must normally complete the FAFSA and the required supporting documentation. Each state has individual awards that will vary according to school and locale.
In all cases, the best way to ensure that you receive all the federal grants to which you are entitled is to discuss your financial situation with the financial aid office at your school. Colleges and universities have financial aid counselors ready and able to assist their students with the financial aid application process. In many cases, you can even complete the FAFSA application on campus to ensure that the process is completed with ease.