Grants for college: Not only in the USA but also most of the world is caught in a phase of economic upheaval and it is thus, very important that you sharpen your skills enough so that you can land a job in this highly competitive scenario. An education is something that determines your eligibility for a good job. Many of us wish to take up special career oriented courses at the renowned colleges, online colleges or tech schools but are hesitant because of the fear that we might not be able to afford it. Do not allow money to be an impediment in the way of bettering your education. There are numerous funding options such as grants and scholarships available these days, and you can always obtain the funding you require for advanced educational purpose. In this article, we will focus on the grants for college.
College grants are financial aids awarded to a college student for improving education. The state or federal government (or at times both) provide the college grants for students. Unlike educational loans, grants do not require to be repaid. Therefore, grants for college are often the preferred choice when it comes to financing college education.
Difference between grants for college and scholarships
Grants for college are often mistaken for scholarships, but college grants and scholarships are not the same. Students will have to meet certain criteria both before and after obtaining a scholarship. Mostly students need to have a minimum GPA to obtain scholarships. Some scholarships are gender-based while others are based on the educational field the student is specializing in. There are also scholarships for college students that require students to take a specific number of credit hours within the first 12 months of their studying. The major difference between scholarships and grants is that scholarships require students to fulfill certain rigid criteria prior to selection while grants do not. Also, scholarships are specifically meant to be obtained by those wishing for an admission in college while for getting grants a student does not necessarily need to be a college student.
Different types of grants for college
Grants for college fall into the following categories:
- Federal Pell Grant:
This is the most common type of college school grants. This grant is entirely based on financial requirement. Any college student who has not yet obtained the bachelor’s degree is eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. The grant given equals the number of credit hours taken by the student in each semester, up to the required amount. Prior to applying for Federal Pell Grant, students and guardians must fill up the FAFSA or ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’. During the 2009-2010 academic year, for example, students could obtain up to $53, 50 under the Federal Pell Grant.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG):
This grant is given to students who have the most financial requirement. Students for FSEOG are not automatically eligible as is the case with Federal Pell Grant. The amount granted depends on factors like financial requirements and available funding options and financial aid policies at the individual colleges. These funds are limited and so, they are offered on a first come first get basis. The 2009-2010 academic year allowed students to obtain up to $4, 000 under FSEOG.
- Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG):
This grant is given to the 1st & 2nd year students who are already on Federal Pell Grant. This grant is an Academic college grant. In the 2008-2009 academic year, the 1st year students were eligible for a maximum of $750 under ACG and the 2nd year students were eligible for a maximum of $1,300.
- National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent grant or the National SMART Grant:
This grant can be obtained by the 3rd or 4th year students specializing in specific subjects. To obtain this grant students must meet the Pell Grant criteria as well as maintain an average of 3.0 grade points. In the 2008-2009 academic year, the maximum amount granted under the SMART Grant was $4,000.
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant: This grant is offered to both graduate and undergraduate students who have enrolled in teacher’s training courses. Students must sign an agreement to teach for at least 4 years in a school meant for low income groups, prior to receiving this grant, and also the school should be in an area where there is a shortage of teaching staffs.
How to apply for grants for college: Some vital instructions?
Here are some vital instructions regarding how to apply for grants for college:
- Visit the High School Guidance Counselor’s office, and get the required form which you need to fill up prior to obtaining grants for college or other financial aids. Once the form is filled up and submitted, you will receive notification if the concerned authority holds you eligible for obtaining the grant.
- Check out the local colleges. Many colleges mete out pre-financial aid or grant forms to help out students who want to study in their college but cannot afford it. Since most colleges are up to date with the various funding avenues for students, college is the best place to find the relevant applications as per your requirement. Visit your local colleges or give them a call to know whether they are distributing applications for college grants or other financial aid programs.
- You can use the Internet to get information on grants for college. In fact, checking online is a modern means for any search. Simply type ‘Grants for college’ in any popular search engines like Google, MSN or Yahoo and you will at once get a list of relevant results. But check out the results thoroughly and attentively for some may be merely scams. Remember that you are receiving information for free. So don’t get be fooled if a site is asking you to pay for a search. The best website for gathering info on grants is www.Grants.Gov. Just type a keyword and you will get all the information you need and also you will be able to look at the details closely.
The provision of grants for college has made getting an education easier. Just apply for a grant and get your career and life started.