Most college and university students require some form of financial assistance to help cover their education costs. As you are working on how to pay for college, one of the first things to look at is what types of grants may be available to you. Grants do not need to be repaid, and they are generally awarded based on financial need. Federal education grants are the most frequently offered type of non-loan financial aid.
How to Apply for Federal Education Grants
In order to qualify for any government grant, you first need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Every student who qualifies for financial assistance based on the FAFSA will automatically be considered for any available federal education grants. Before you begin looking for any type of financial aid, it is important that you fill out the form, which you can complete and submit online.
Types of Government Grants
The Federal Pell Grant
The Pell Grant is the most commonly awarded federal education grant; it is awarded to millions of low-income students each year who are enrolled in two- or four-year degree programs. The amount of your Pell grant award depends on several criteria, including the amount your family is able to contribute to your education costs, your enrollment status, and the cost of attendance at your institution.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The FSEOG is a campus-based grant program which is intended to supplement the Pell Grant for the lowest income recipients. The amount of the award is based partly on the amount of your Pell Grant award, the amount of any additional grants and scholarships, and the cost of attendance at your college or university. Because the grant is funded by your institution, funds are limited, so it is best to apply as early as possible.
The Academic Competitiveness Grant
This grant is awarded to lower-income students in their first or second year of college who are enrolled in an academically rigorous program. The grant is based on a combination of financial need and merit; students who receive the grant must be able to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
The National SMART (Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent) Grant
This award is given to low-income students in the third or fourth year of their degree program. Recipients must exhibit academic excellence as well as financial need, and they must be majoring in an approved SMART program.
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