Grants and scholarships are available in the United States to help prospective and current college students cover the cost of tuition. You do not have to pay a grant or scholarship back.
Grants tend to be based on need, which means that students who come from underprivileged or low-income families may access them. On the other hand, scholarships are usually based on a calculation of merit, which might include a GPA calculation, SAT scores, and/or community involvement. They may also target students in distinct fields of study.
College grants may be awarded from federal or state governments, educational institutions, and/or private or non-profit organizations. Some grants are automatically awarded to enrolled students who qualify, while others require an application. Often, research and work is involved on the part of the student. This may include acquiring official transcripts, obtaining letters of reference, and submitting essays or paperwork.
Finally, some grants have stipulations and conditions. This means that if you don’t achieve a specific grade-point average, the funding may be revoked. If, for instance, you withdraw from school before completing a specific enrollment period, you will be required to repay the grant in part or in full.
What Grants Are Available?
The United States Department of Education offers a wide variety of different grants for students attending college and university programs, community colleges, and vocational schools. Grants offered by the federal government include:
- Federal Pell Grants. Federal Pell Grants do not have to be repaid. They are typically awarded to undergraduate students. The amount of the award varies from year to year. How much money you are awarded depends on demonstrated need, the cost of attending the school you’re enrolled in, your status as a student, and how long you plan to attend school, whether for an entire academic year or less.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG). For an FSEOG, you can receive up to $4,000 per year. The amount you receive depends on your personal financial need, how much other aid you receive, and whether the funds are available at your school.
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants. TEACH grants require that you enroll in an education program and start a career in the field of teaching.
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. These grants have specific eligibility criteria, including having a parent or legal guardian who died in the military after 9/11.
Grants are also offered at the state and institutional level. It’s up to prospective and current students to identify which grants apply to their unique situation. You can visit your educational institution’s website or the website of your state government to find more information about grants.
Am I Eligible For A Grant?
Most grants, including those offered by the federal government, apply to students who have financial need. You will have to submit evidence of financial need via a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. After that, you will communicate with your institute to find out how much aid you will receive and how you will get it.