Everything You Need to Know About College Grants

sources of college grants

Are you dreaming of going to college but constantly worrying about how to pay for it? There's a solution to achieve your dream without worrying about the financial burden. The answer is college grants.

Grants for college are free money to fund your college degree that you don't have to pay back. They can be a HUGE help in paying for your education.

So, get ready to learn everything you need to know about college grants – what they are, how to get them, and much more.

What Are College Grants?

College grants are a form of non-refundable financial aid provided to college students. Their primary purpose is to support students who might need more money to pay for college.

College grants can come from the federal government, states, private organizations, and colleges. These organizations recognize that many students may need more money to afford higher education.

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What's the Difference Between Grants and Scholarships?

Grants and scholarships are ways to get free money to help you pay for college. Their main difference is in their requirements and award terms.

Grants are primarily need-based. Students can receive or earn grants if they prove the most financial need. For instance, if a student's family has a low income, they may be eligible for funding to help cover the cost of tuition.

Scholarships are often awarded based on merit, skill, or belonging to a specific group. You can win a scholarship for your academic achievements, athletic abilities, or ethnicity.

But did you know that you can combine grants and scholarships to pay for college? If you qualify for both types of financial aid, you can use them together to cover your college expenses. This can be a great way to reduce the amount of student debt you may have after graduation.

Can You Get a College Grant?

You can secure a college grant if you meet the eligibility criteria and follow the application process. College students received $140.6 billion in grants in 2021-2022, according to Collegeboard.org.

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Types of Grants for College Students

As a student, you have many options when searching for college grants. Here are several types that you can apply for.

Need-Based Grants

Need-based grants are the most common type of grant available. The government, state, or your institution usually gives these grants.

Federal Grants

The first and most common type of a need-based grant is the Federal Pell Grant. This federal government grant is for students with a lot of financial need, and it can provide up to $7,395 per year to help pay for college.

Another type of grant is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). This grant is for students with exceptional financial needs.

You may qualify for the assistance even if you're paying your Pell Grant. It can provide up to $4,000 per year.

The good news is that you can quickly get these grants if you prove financial need. As per the National Center for Education Statistics, 32.1% of students received a Pell Grant in the 2019-2020 school year.

State Grants

Aside from federal grants, individual states also offer grants to eligible students. These grants vary depending on the state you live in. Visit the financial aid website for your state or speak with a college counselor to find out if you qualify.

Your state's financial aid can be a great resource to afford a college education and avoid debt. If your federal financial aid fails to cover your tuition, state grants can be the boost you need.

Institutional Grants

Choosing a college may determine the amounts of financial aid you can access. Some colleges and universities also offer institutional grants to their students.

These grants can depend on your financial needs or academic performance. Plus, it can be wise to choose a college with a history of providing financial aid for students.

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Merit-Based Grants

Merit-based grants are different from need-based grants. Instead, they are based on your accomplishments and abilities. This means that even if you don't have a lot of financial need, you might still be able to get a merit-based grant.

There are many different types of merit-based grants and scholarships available. Some are awarded based on academic achievements, such as high grades or test scores.

Others are awarded based on talent, such as artistic or athletic ability. Still, others are awarded based on community service or other types of leadership.

You will usually need to fill out an application to apply for a merit-based grant or scholarship. Also, you'll provide some supporting materials, such as transcripts or letters of recommendation. Some scholarships may also require you to write an essay or submit a portfolio of your work.

Diversity or Minority Group Grants

Your family background can be the reason you qualify for special grants. There are many grants for minority groups, which can boost your college funding. These grants are available from government agencies, private organizations, colleges, and universities.

Here are some examples of minority group grants.

  • The Gates Millennium Scholars Program. This grant funds low-income African American, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asian Pacific Islander American students to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  • The Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the United Negro College Fund also offer to fund specifically for Hispanic and African American students, respectively.
  • Grants and scholarships specifically for women. Examples are the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education and the American Association of University Women Career Development Grant.
  • Grants for families of military veterans and deceased families. An example is the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA). This program provides education and career training financial aid to spouses of military members.
  • Grants for students with disabilities. An excellent example of such a grant is the National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program. The award offers financial help to blind and visually impaired students.
  • The second example is the Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship Program. The program provides funding for students with learning disabilities.

Career-Specific Grants

Let's talk about grants that are specific to certain career paths. These grants can fund your dream and prepare you for a successful future in your desired field.

For example, if you want to become a teacher, you may be eligible for the TEACH Grant. This grant provides up to $4,000 per year to students who plan to teach in a high-need field in a low-income area.

If you want to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM), you may qualify for the National Science Foundation's S-STEM Program.

If your dream is a career in the arts, grants are available to help you achieve your goals. The Young Arts Foundation offers financial aid to talented young artists in various disciplines.

Remember, these are only a few examples of the many career-specific grants you can explore. If you have a particular career path in mind, be sure to research relevant opportunities.

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How to Apply For a Need-Based College Grant?

First, research the available grants and ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Then, gather all the necessary documents for the application process. These may include financial statements, tax returns, and proof of enrollment in a college.

When filling out the application, follow all the instructions carefully. Make sure you provide all the required information. You can also contact the financial aid office at the university you plan to attend for guidance on the process and extra resources.

If you qualify for any grants, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Colleges, states and the government will use this form to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. Submit your FAFSA as early as possible to maximize your success chances.

Above that, remember some schools may use the CSS Profile to determine your eligibility for financial aid from non-federal sources. The CSS Profile considers factors beyond the FAFSA's requirements, such as home equity and business/farm assets. Completing CSS besides the FAFSA may increase your chances of receiving aid from all possible sources.

Keep in mind the competition for need-based grants can be tough. So, apply early and be persistent in your efforts to secure grants and scholarships.

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How to Research and Find More Free Money for College

Researching and finding free money for college can be a time-consuming task. But it's worth the effort if it can help reduce your student loan debt. Here are some tips on how to find more free money for college:

  • Check out scholarship search engines like scholarships.org, The College Board, and Career One Stop (these sites allow you to search for relevant scholarships)
  • Look for grants and scholarships specific to your state or region (many states have programs that provide financial aid to residents attending in-state schools)
  • Ask your school's financial aid office if they offer any scholarships or grants (many schools have programs to help students with financial needs)
  • Look for scholarships and grants specific to your field of study

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The Rewarding Benefits of Applying for College Grants and Scholarships

Applying for scholarships and grants is a rewarding financial decision. Any form of free financial aid can cover all your college expenses giving you a massive relief.

With grants, you're getting free money and many reasons to celebrate. Here are some of the perks of applying for scholarships to inspire you if you're yet to make up your mind.

Allow You to Focus on Your Education

Applying to college is a huge commitment. You'll want to focus on studying to get value for your money.

A college grant gives you peace of mind and allows you to study stress-free. You no longer have to worry about working long hours or burdening parents to raise your school fees.

Once you receive any free federal or state grants, you'll reduce your financial worries. You'll have more time to study and increase your chances of success.

You Can Easily Achieve Your Career Dreams

If you have a strong financial need, you'll need grants to complete your degree. Otherwise, you can lack the money to pay for college and build a strong career foundation.

Acquiring a college education bolsters your career prospects. College graduates earn an average of 61% more than non-college graduates. A better career should be a solid motivation to explore free college money.

You Can Reduce Future Debt

Thousands of students complete college with a heavy financial burden. College loans may be helpful, but they can be an excessive burden when you start working.

If, by any chance, you don't qualify for financial aid, consider applying for scholarships. As long as you're talented, a high achiever, or from a minority group, you can pay for college with free money.

You'll Stand Out in the Job Market

Scholarships and grants can help you stand out in the job market. Employers recognize the value of hard work, dedication, and achievement.

When you apply for a job, having a scholarship or grant on your resume or cover letter shows you're a high achiever. It shows you're capable of balancing academics and other responsibilities. This can give you a competitive edge and increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Get Started With Securing Grants for College

Pursuing a college degree can be a challenging and costly endeavor. But with the help of grants, it is possible to achieve your dreams without drowning in debt. We hope this guide offers you valuable information on securing college grants.

If you're still struggling to make ends meet, explore College Education Information as a viable option. You will access affordable online education from the comfort of your own home. And you will also be eligible for an opportunity to win grants of up to $7,395 to help fund your education.

You can focus on your studies and your future career without worrying about how to pay for it all. Refrain from letting financial constraints hold you back from achieving your goals. Take advantage of College Education Information and start pursuing your dreams today.

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Also Read: Your Complete Guide to State Financial Aid Grants for College


**Data collected and distributed by the National Center for Education Statistics https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2022/2022144.pdf
***Data collected and distributed by the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2022144