Grants are like scholarships. They are free financial aid programs that are offered for study and the student is not required to repay the money.
Typically based on a variety of metrics, including economic need, ability to pay student status and academic requirements, Federal and state government grants are offered to students in college. Family income does not influence grants exclusively.
Types of College Grants
College students have two general types of grant programs:
- Need-based grants
- Merit-based grants
One of the largest providers of student grants is the Federal government and in order to qualify, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually.
The Federal Pell Grant is the most common federal grant and is funded by the federal government. It is designed to help provide financially disadvantaged undergraduate students with financial assistance. The amount you receive each year may change Depending on federal budget restrictions; the amount that you receive each year depends on your family’s expected cost contribution, and your student status.
A type of government grant awarded only to students with the most need, the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant Program is typically awarded to students that have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or 0 on their financial aid Student Aid Report (SAR). First, students with the most need are provided funding. Then the remaining federal FSEOG funds “trickle down” to provide assistance to students with the next greatest level of need.
On-campus job opportunities are provided to financially needy students by the Federally-funded work-study programs. These let students earn money toward their college expenses.
One of the oldest federal educational benefit assistance programs, the military Montgomery G.I. Bill is catered to students that have served in the military. These students may qualify for a certain amount of federal funding for a college education or vocational and technical training.
Merit-based grants provide free college funds to students Based on academic performance and, sometimes in combination with financial need; merit-based grants provide free college funds to students. State grants are the most common types of merit-based grants. They award students with certain GPAs and income levels money for their college education. Usually requiring a separate application form, state grants may also require completion and filing of the FAFSA. Your state government’s or higher education website typically carries information and details about most state-based grants.
How to Apply for College Grants
Requiring you to file a FAFSA, most grant programs take it from here – so make this the first application you fill out. The filled in FAFSA also puts you in consideration for any federal grants. It is important to remember and submit the form by the federal and state FAFSA deadlines. Extra forms of documentation, such as academic transcripts, are required by some programs in order to qualify.