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Home Scholarships College Grants What is a Grant for College

What is a Grant for College?

In preparing for college, many high school students begin looking for ways to pay for their future scholastic endeavors. While scholarships and loans are the most commonly thought of sources for money to pay for school, grants offer some of the greatest opportunities for financial aid. Be sure to explore all your financial aid options, including grants, when looking to cover the cost of your education. 

What is a Grant?

You may have heard grants and scholarships discussed interchangeably. Grants are gift-aid and are typically based on your financial need, whereas scholarships are generally awarded based on merit and skills. Both are sources of free money used to assist in paying for school tuition, fees, and other school-based expenses that are not usually required to be paid back. Students receiving scholarships and grants often appreciate the benefit of generally not having to repay the money as they pursue their scholastic endeavors (such as if you do not fulfill the terms of the TEACH Grant agreement.).

As you go about applying for grants and scholarships, make sure you carefully read the requirements needed for each application. Grant money does not typically need to be paid back, which can help lower your need for federal and private student loans. 

Applying for Grants

To apply for most federal, state, and institution-based grants, students are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Filling out the FAFSA is what many colleges and universities use to decide who will receive institutional grant money. Your school’s financial aid office will also be a valuable resource for more information on applying for specific grants.

Types of Grants

Grants can be awarded by the federal government, private organizations, your local state, or even the colleges and universities you attend or plan to attend. These entities award different grant amounts that are usually based around financial need. While all grants are considered gift-aid, they may have varying eligibility and application processes. 

Pell Grant

Pell Grants are awarded through the Department of Education and intended to help students from low-income households attend and pay for college. Pell Grant money can be applied to tuition, fees, room and board, and other educational expenses. 

To receive the Pell Grant, your first step is to complete and submit the FAFSA. The information from the FAFSA will generate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC in conjunction with the cost of attendance at your school, your enrollment status (full time or part time), and the amount of time in the year you intend to attend, will determine how much Pell Grant money you will be awarded. 

Pell Grant amounts vary year to year, so you should try to complete the FAFSA early each year as your financial status may change over time. 

More>>> Am I Eligible for a Pell Grant? 

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) 

 FSEOG is a type of campus-based financial aid.  Not all schools participate in the FSEOG program. Participating FSEOG schools award these grants to students who have exceptional need. Students with no or the lowest EFC and who has demonstrated a need for Pell Grant, are awarded priority status to FSEOG money. As this grant is awarded on a first-come first-served basis, it is recommended that you complete and file your FAFSA as early as possible to receive the largest amount of grant money possible. The funds for the FSEOG grant are limited. 

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

The TEACH Grant is for undergraduate, post baccalaureate or graduate students who agree to teach in a high-need field at an elementary, secondary school or educational service agency  that serves low-income students. The TEACH Grant provides up to $4,000 a year to students who will teach as highly-qualified teachers or special education teachers.

TEACH Grants are intended for students who agree to the terms of receiving the grant. The TEACH Grant is for students who are studying with the intent to become a teacher in a high-need field. Students who are qualified for a TEACH Grant must be enrolled in an eligible school and program of study that will lead to a bachelor’s or master’s degree (or a post-baccalaureate certificate if your school does not offer an eligible bachelor’s degree program). You must have at least a cumulative  3.25 GPA on a 4.0 scale or score above the 75th percentile of at least one part of a college admissions test. 

To receive a TEACH Grant, you must first complete and file your FAFSA each year you wish to receive aid. It is suggested you file it as soon as possible for the coming year after the FAFSA becomes available October 1. 

If you do not uphold the terms in your 4-year TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve and complete the required initial and subsequent counseling as outlined in your Agreement, your grant will be converted to an unsubsidized student loan. 

More >>> Do I Have to Pay Back Grants?

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Available only to undergraduate students. If you had a parent pass away as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11(September 11, 2001), you may be considered for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. You may be able to receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant if you are enrolled as an undergraduate student but did not qualify for a Pell Grant based on your family’s EFC but still met all the other requirements pertaining to the Pell Grant. At the time of their passing, you must have been under 24 years old or enrolled in college at least half-time. 

Upon completion and submission of your FAFSA, your school and the federal government will determine if you are eligible for this grant. 

State Grant Programs

Grants exist not only on the federal level, but states may also have grant programs. State grants may be given based upon demonstrated financial need, but can also be awarded for high GPA, ACT®/SAT® test scores, or study in particular occupation fields. Many states require you to file your FAFSA by your state’s deadline. There may also be additional forms, applications, or requirements that your state may ask for.  Contact your state Department of Education for more information. 

Grants Awarded by Your School

Some colleges and universities will provide grants to you as well. These grants are used to help attract students to the school who may otherwise not be able to attend. Often, they will use your FAFSA information to indicate your eligibility to receive school-provided grants. Some schools may require an additional application, like The CSS Profile™. 

Institution grants are usually disbursed alongside state and federal grant money from the school’s financial aid office. Check with your school’s financial aid office to learn more about any grants offered and their eligibility requirements. 

Finding Money for College

If you are looking for financial assistance for attending school, know that you have options. Grants are often available to those who have demonstrated financial need. While not all grants are openly available to anyone, many scholarships are. 

Check for scholarship opportunities on sites, such as ScholarshipPoints.com to help you win money for school. Monthly $1,000 scholarships are always available and quarterly $10,000 scholarship drawings can assist in chasing your collegiate goals.

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