For many students, grants are an excellent means of easing the financial burden of a college education. You likely already know that this form of financial aid can come from sdeveral places, i.e. your school and various organizations, but much of this money comes directly from the government as well. These are the federal grants, which you will be in contention for upon submitting your FAFSA each academic year. The following should provide a more in-depth look at a few of these federal grants.
- Federal Pell Grant. The Pell Grant is one of the most common federal grants available. Receipt of this grant requires students to attend a participating university (currently 5,400 schools participate) and also have some form of financial need. Several factors contribute to eligibility for this grant. These include: EFC (how much your family contributes financially toward your education), enrollment status (full-time--12+ credits or part-time--6 credits or less), total cost of attendance (including tuition, room and board, textbooks, etc.) and whether enrollment is for a full academic year or less. An additional requirement is that students maintain a minimum level of academic achievement, as the grant may be revoked due to poor grades. Funds are sent once per term to either the school or directly to the student. Currently the Pell Grant maximum award per year is $5,775 (likely for full-time, full-year students with higher financial need) and each eligible student is guaranteed some amount.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Many of the same eligibility criteria as the Pell Grant apply to the FSEOG. This grant, though, is intended for students who have "exceptional" levels of financial need and also operates through individual campuses on a first-come first-served basis (once depleted, no more grants are awarded to additional students). The FSEOG grant was designed to encourage low-income students to pursue college-level education, and serves those who can contribute vary little toward educational costs. Current awards range from $100 - $4,000 per year and and paid out to students once per term. 3,800 schools currently offer the program.
Grants are great financial aid sources because the don't need to be repaid. Federal grants serve a large portion of financial aid seekers around the country, and they aren't the only group of grants out there! Check out the main grants page for information on organization-sponsored awards, as well as university-awarded grants (ask your financial aid office about these, too!).