Students that plan on enrolling in college have various avenues to financially support their educational goals. College tuition is very expensive and for those in financial need may qualify for educational grant programs offered by the federal and state governments, colleges and private foundations. Educational grants are monies awarded to a student based on need, merit or other requirements and do not have to be repaid.
Grant awards from the federal government for education are centered on the student’s financial situation and ability to pay for college there are four federal educational grant programs:
The Pell Grant – the major source of need based gift aid given out by the federal government with over one third of students receiving this grant award.
TEACH Grant – the student promises to teach for four years at an elementary/secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families.
FSEOG -Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant – supplements the Pell Grant for the neediest students through colleges that participate.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant – available to students who do not qualify for a Pell Grant but whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service after September 11, 2001, in Iraq or Afghanistan.
In order for a student to find out if they qualify for any of the federal tuition grants they must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) first and once submitted the government will inform them if they meet the requirements for a federal tuition grant.
In addition to the federal government students can find tuition grant money through their own state government in which they reside. Every state has educational grant programs for college bound students based mostly on financial need although some are for merit or athletic record. Those students that receive the Pell Grant from the federal government and still are not able to pay for college can apply to their states need based grants to cover college costs in addition to the federal Pell Grant money. The student needs to research the tuition grant possibilities for their own situation since each state offers different programs.
Colleges and universities offer a variety of grants through their own programs based on need and varying criteria. Public and private foundations and organizations offer grants to college bound students based on their own evaluation of a student’s financial need along with award criteria. There are educational grants for women specifically that support the interests of a specific industry or field of study especially for those female students that will be concentrating in the fields of math, science, engineering, technology, law, business and medicine. Minority groups are also another group that has specific grants that can help those pay for their education. Education grants , for minorities must show financial need to win grant money although minority grants are less competitive, because the amount of students applying is a smaller group.
Students must take the time to research all the tuition grant awards that are available to them, it may be time consuming but in the end being able to decrease the amount of student loans that need to be paid off in the future is time well spent. No matter what type of educational grant a student wants to apply for many require filling out the FAFSA as a starting point and the organization or foundation uses this information to help evaluate the students need for assistance.