The federal government offers students financial grants to students who demonstrate a financial need. This includes college students enrolled in an undergraduate degree program or graduate programs. Eligibility requirements are different for each type of program. Local states have financial grants for students such as minority and disadvantaged students. Some programs have specific requirements that students must meet in order to be eligible. The grants do not need to be paid back to the federal government, it is free to apply and applicants do not need good credit scores to receive grants. Private organizations, foundations, corporations, colleges and universities also offer student grants.
Federal FAFSA Grants
Students can apply online at the federal government’s FAFSA website (https://fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/fafsa?locale=en_US) and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students will need to identify the name of the school they are planning on attending, their social security number and date of birth and complete the required financial information.
Pell Grants are the most common type of student financial grants that the federal government gives to eligible persons. It is important for the student to check with the school they are attending to find out the deadline for submitting a FAFSA application. Pell grants are given to undergraduate students and students who are enrolled in a post baccalaureate teaching certificate program.
In order to qualify for a Pell Grant, you must meet the following:
A student who is eligible for a Pell Grant receives one award for the entire school year, which is paid to the college where they attend. Students must be attending at least half-time. Awards are pro-rated and distributed on the basis of whether a student is half-time, three quarter time or full-time. Students may only receive one Pell Grant award at a time, which is paid directly to their college during their enrollment quarter, semester or trimester. Each school has different disbursement policies so it is important for the student to check with their particular school to find out when and how the grant money is disbursed. It is common practice for schools to usually disburse funds after all add and drop periods are done. The maximum award for the current 2012-2013 school year is $5,550.
Other Federal Grants
A student under the age of 24 years and enrolled at least part-time in college at the time the death of a parent or guardian, who died in Iraq or Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. armed forces after September 11, 2001, may also qualify for the maximum Pell Grant Award.
Students receiving a Pell Grant and who demonstrate an exceptional financial need may also be eligible for the FSEOG award based upon their family expected contribution (EFC). Awards range from $100 to $4,000 and are paid to the student’s college. To find additional information on FSEOG grants, please go to the government’s website at http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/FSEOG.jsp.
Students who are undergraduate, post baccalaureate, or graduate students studying to become elementary or secondary teachers may be eligible for the TEACH Grant if the student’s school is a participant Program, and the student meets all requirements, including signing the Teach Grant Agreement to Serve. Information about the TEACH Grant Program can be found at the government’s website: http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/attachments/siteresources/TEACHGrant.pdf.
Attending Institutional Grants and Programs
Many colleges have their own grant programs based upon student financial needs and recognition of good grades for both graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate grants may be for specific graduate programs such as medical or law school. Eligibility requirements are set by each school. The easiest way to find out about the college’s grant programs is to speak with the financial aid office or visit the college’s website and view their financial aid programs.
Private Organizations, Institutions and Corporations
Companies who are looking to increase their workforce such as technical and pharmaceutical corporations may offer graduate or undergraduate grants, scholarships and internships with the requirement that you decide to go work for them after you graduate.
There are a wide variety of financial grants for students. A financial aid counselor can assist with finding grants and scholarships. It is also up to the student to be pro-active in finding grants because there is a lot of competition for them. It is recommended that students apply for as many grants as they are eligible for. This way, the student can increase their chances of obtaining one.