Grants For College | Here’s The Low Down
What Are College Grants?
The big difference between grants for college and scholarships for college is that grants are typically need-based, meaning that grants are usually given to people in financial need.
- Many grants for college are need-based. Need-based grants are awarded based on your family’s economic situation. To figure out your financial need, most schools consider your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC is a number used by your school to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive.
- There are merit-based college grants, too. Merit-based grants are awarded to students who demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, a commitment to community service, or excellent leadership skills. To find merit-based grants for college, start by doing an online search for college grants in your home state.
4 Types Of Federal Grants For College
There are quite a few types of grants that you can get for college or university. The process of getting these grants will vary, however, let’s go over the types of grants that are possible and can get into how you can go about applying for these specific grants.
1. Federal Pell Grants For College
- Awarded to undergraduate students who have exceptional financial need and who have not earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree; in some cases, students enrolled in a postbaccalaureate teacher certification program may receive a Federal Pell Grant
- A student who meets certain requirements might be eligible for a larger Pell Grant if his or her parent died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan or in the line of duty as a public safety officer
- Pell Grant lifetime eligibility is limited to 12 semesters or the equivalent
2. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
The FSEOG program is administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school. Not all schools participate. Check with your school’s financial aid office to find out if the school offers the FSEOG.
- Awarded to undergraduate students who have exceptional financial need and who have not earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree
- Federal Pell Grant recipients receive priority
- Not all schools participate in this program
- Funds depend on availability at the school; check for the school’s deadline
3. Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
- For undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, or graduate students who are enrolled in programs designed to prepare them to teach in a high-need field at the elementary or secondary school level
- Must agree to serve for a minimum of four years (within eight years of completing or ceasing enrollment in the program for which the student received the grant funds) as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a school or educational service agency that serves low-income students
- Must attend a participating school and meet certain academic achievement requirements
- Failure to complete the teaching service commitment will result in the grant being converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan that must be repaid
4. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
- For students whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of performing military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11
- Must be ineligible for a Pell Grant due to having less financial need than is required to receive Federal Pell Grant funds
- Must have been younger than 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time at a college or career school at the time of the parent’s or guardian’s death
How To Get Federal Grants For College
There is a simple process you must follow to get federal grants for college. Below we list the three steps you’ll need to take to find out if you qualify for a federal grant and how much you qualify for.
1. Fill out the FAFSA
Both federal and state governments give out college grants. To find out if you qualify and to become eligible, you need to fill out the FAFSA. This allows colleges to determine how much financial aid you qualify for. Financial aid helps students and their families pay for college by covering educational expenses. Grants, work-study, and federal student loans can all be part of your financial aid package from a school.
2. Submit the FAFSA before the deadline
Many grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. So complete your FAFSA early—as soon as you can after the starting date of October 1. Your family’s tax returns are needed to complete the FAFSA, so you should set aside time to gather those documents before you start the application.
3. Read your financial aid award letter
After you fill out your FAFSA, you’ll receive financial aid award letters from the colleges that accepted you. Your award letters will tell you if you’re eligible for any college grants, among other types of financial aid, like scholarships, work-study, and federal student loans. You don’t need to accept every piece of financial aid that’s offered to you.
State Grants For College | General Information
Colleges and universities tend to work with states and the U.S. Department of Education, to provide financial assistance options for students at all levels. Grants, scholarships, and loans typically originate from within your state.
States receive money from property taxes and lottery funds to help fund student aid programs. Although many grants apply only to schools within your state, there are some grant options that allow you to use financial aid from your home state and apply it to your out-of-state college costs.
The process of getting student aid is fairly simple. First and foremost: Apply for Federal Financial Aid using the standardized Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As mentioned above, the information you provide on your FAFSA helps figure out the cost of your education while estimating your ability to pay for college.
Some states use your FAFSA and your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) to figure out if you qualify for state financial aid. Other states require additional documentation, and deadlines are not always the same. Your state’s FAFSA filing deadline might be earlier than the federal requirement, talk with your financial aid office or guidance counselor or check out your state’s guidelines online.
Some state grants for college are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Getting all of your information submitted on time is paramount to successfully getting state-funded grant money.
States issue grants directly to students, but institutional grants are also given to colleges and universities. These grants help schools offset education costs for individuals too, so it’s a win/win for students, but to pay your college bills you’re looking for direct financial aid that can be applied to your tuition.
Before you move on to your own state page, consider the different types of grants you’ll encounter as you assemble your personal financial aid package.
9 Types Of State Grants For College
If you qualify for federal financial aid there is a better chance that you will qualify for financial aid from your home state. The Federal Pell Grant Program is an iconic tuition initiative that gives financial needy students college money and that doesn’t require repayment. States run similar programs, so if you’re eligible for a Pell Grant, you might also qualify for state grant money.
1. Need-Based Grants
2. Merit-Based Grants
Merit-based grants and scholarships are issued to recognize exemplary performance. Stand-out athletes receive grant money for school, to reward them for their successes on the field. Academic grants go to students whose classroom achievements set them apart from their contemporaries.
Some grants are hybrid types that require you to demonstrate financial hardship, but also to maintain a certain GPA during school. As you search for college funding, keep in mind that it may be a combination of personal attributes that makes you eligible for a particular grant or scholarship.
Consider the unique populations you belong to, and look beyond general state aid, to the grant programs that reward people just like you.
3. Grants For Minorities
4. Grants For Women
5. Disadvantaged Student Grants
Low-income and disadvantaged students qualify for general need-based aid in most states that offer it, but specific funding is also set aside for students whose access to education is severely limited by social and financial conditions. Exceptional hardship is calculated differently in each state, but the students whose circumstances present the greatest educational obstacles are the first to be considered for state grants.
6. Grants For High Need Fields
Students pursuing high-need fields of study, like nursing, teaching and STEM subjects may get assistance from state governments. Nursing and teaching grants are issued by states, in return for service obligations that require participants to work in under-served areas. By committing to work as a teacher or nurse within your state, for a period of two to four years, you might receive tuition abatement that amounts to a free ride through college. If you don’t follow through on your end of the service agreement, your grant becomes a loan that you must repay-with interest.
7. Veterans And National Guard Grants
8. Grants For Disabilities
Students with disabilities qualify for state college grants. If you belong to a unique student population, it is important to consult with your school’s financial aid office for help finding funds. In addition to state money, individual universities offer grants for disabled students.
9. Foster Care Grants
Examples Of State Grants For College
- Texas has the, Towards Excellence Access and Success (TEXAS) program which provides tuition reimbursement for in-state students. TEXAS applicants need to have financial needs and provide prep work to show their academic motivation.
- In California, the student aid commission and their CAL GRANT PROGRAM helps higher education students in California by granting money for college. This grant program subsidizes tuition for most of the state’s students who meet a certain academic standard or financial need.
- The Pennsylvania State Grant Program gives money to in-state applicants who are enrolled at least half-time in qualified two- and four-year degree programs. At least 50% of instruction must occur in classroom settings, and the program is only for students pursuing their first bachelor’s degree.