Many people want to receive an education. However, one of the biggest obstacles that they will face is figuring out how to afford their degree. Luckily, the federal government recognized that so many people would need assistance in this part of their lives that they have set up programs in order to help make getting an education more affordable.
There are programs called grants that are meant to give money to recipients. This money assistance is wanted by a lot of people because grants don’t need to be repaid. That means you just get affordability assistance, without the stress of other means like a loan!
There are two types of programs. Need-based grants and merit-based grants. A need-based grant is provided to students who need help the most while merit-based grants are provided to students based on personal achievements like good grades, community roles, and more. Grants come from many sources like private organizations, corporations, and states as well. However, the federal government is a better source because they have more funding options.
Some popular grant programs that are available are the:
- Pell Grant
- SMART Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Academic Competitiveness Grant
There are also other types of federal assistance based on aspects like career choice, where you will work, your family history, your service status, and more. The most important step to seeing what federal student grants you may be eligible for is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form will be able to determine how in need you are for assistance. It is important to file your FAFSA on time because there is no substitute for this documentation. The best way to avoid missed deadlines to submit documentation is to make sure you know when the deadlines are.
Understanding Different Types of Popular Grants
The Pell Grant is one of the most popular federal grant options because it is the largest provider of student grants. These grants provide tuition help to undergraduates in financial need. In order to qualify for a Pell Grant, you need to demonstrate financial need, be enrolled in school, have a qualifying cost of attending school, and be enrolled yearlong as a student. These are some of the most important factors that dictate whether or not you will receive a Pell Grant. The amount of money that is granted to students changes every year. However, currently, a Pell Grant could be worth up to $6,395.
This is the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant.. This grant will help third- and fourth-year low-income students after other grants are no longer applicable like the Academic Competitiveness Grant. In order to qualify for this type of grant assistance program, you must major in either a STEM field or an in-demand foreign language. The maximum amount that you can receive for this grant is up to $4,000.
Academic Competitiveness Grant
An Academic Competitiveness Grant encourages first- and second-year college students with a “rigorous” high school background to get the assistance that they need with a hybrid of need- and merit-based program options. In order to qualify for this loan assistance, you will need to be a Pell Grant recipient, enrolled full time in either a four year or a two-year program, and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. The maximum amount of money that you will be eligible to receive is $750 for first year students and $1,300 for second year students. While these costs cannot cover the entire cost of tuition, it can definitely help make the costs more manageable.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
This grant is a campus-based assistance option that provides other types of assistance to the most financially qualifying student.
Other Federal Grants
While the four grants listed above are some of the most popular, there are other federal grant options that are available! There are grants that are determined by a person’s career choice. For example, with a Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant, you will be able to get up to $4,000 every year to help students that agree to teach in high-need places once they graduate.
There are even Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants that provide money to any student that lost their parent serving in the U.S. military. There are also options available that help provide military service members to be reimbursed for their college education!
There are countless grant options available both federally and locally. It is important to make sure that not only do you fill out your FAFSA, but that you look at all available grant options to see which one would be best for you. Take your time, and you will be able to see what the best options are available for you and your financial situation.