While grants fall under the category of “financial aid,” this form of money for school is different because, unlike student loans, grants do not have to be repaid and are essentially “free” money. Although scholarships don’t have to repaid either, this form of financial aid is mainly merit-based. Grants are ideal because these funds are typically awarded to students that simply need it the most. There are tons of grants available that college bound individuals can apply for, including public/private, federal/state and those awarded by the colleges and universities themselves.
According to Obama.net, the US government has roughly $86.4 billion dedicated solely in college grants. That’s a lot of money that plenty of families could put to good use for their children’s college education.
Who is Eligible?
Because grants are designed to aid those from financially disadvantaged situations, eligibility requirements must be met. This includes finding out how much a student’s assets, income, household size and parents’ income and assets amount to, as well as taking into consideration whether there are any other family members currently enrolled at a college or university. Other factors that can determine if and how much grant money a student may receive is the cost of the tuition, enrollment status and amount of money the family is able to contribute towards education on their own. Organizations tend to gather this information by having an application, survey, or requesting that information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which allows the organization offering the grant to evaluate an individual’s financial need as it relates to affording school.
Types of grants
Grants are separated into different categories: subject, degree, student and minority. Subject-based grants are ideal for students that know what career field they want to pursue (Biology, Arts, Cosmetology, Culinary, Business). Degree-based grants are for students that are interested in obtaining an Undergraduate or Graduate degree. Student-based grants describe those that focus on financial need based on income, while minority-based grants target students of various ethnic backgrounds (Hispanic, African America, Asian American, etc).
Where to find information on grants?
The Internet is a useful resource for students to find information on grants for college, conduct research, and gain access to the right applications. The FAFSA continues to be the main go-to source for all things related to financial aid for college. This website is free to use and offers in depth information about finding and applying for funding for school. Additionally, using the site’s services is free of charge. Nearly all colleges and universities require FAFSA applications to accurately determine a student’s eligibility to receive grants and other forms of financial aid. It goes without saying that the FAFSA definitely plays an important part in the preparation for college.