Federal Grants

Going to college can be expensive, so fortunately there are a variety of college and university grants to help out students who need financial help to get them through their studies. 

There are a wide variety of college grants available and one of the most popular types are federal and government grants. The government offer several college grants for students across the United States and in today’s guide we look at what you need to know about them.

About Federal and Government Grants

Federal and government college grants were put in place to help students to pay for costs associated with their tertiary education, including tuition fees, room and board, books and other college essentials. In the United States there are a variety of college grants available from the government at both state, local and federal levels.

As of 2010 there were nine federal college grant programs and 605 state student grant programs available for students. We look at some of the college grants available below.

Types of Federal and Government Grants

Although there are hundreds of different college grants available, some are more popular than others. The best known federal government college grants are the Pell Grants, which are awarded to students based on financial need.

The other federal government college grants available to apply for are the Federal SEOG Grants, SMART Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, Federal Work-Study Program, federal Stafford Loans, state student incentive grants and PLUS Loans. These college grants are made by the U.S. Department of Education.

As well as federal government college grants there are also grants available at the state level. There are a range of financial aid options available at the state level. As well as grants you can also apply for loans, work-study programs, tuition waivers and scholarships, depending on your eligibility.

Who is Eligible for Federal and Government Grants

Every college grant has different eligibility criteria, however essentially they can be divided into two different categories: merit-based or need-based. 

Merit-based federal and government grants are awarded to students based on their academic ability as opposed to financial reasons. Often there are conditions attached to merit-based grants, usually requiring you to maintain a specific grade average throughout the period of your grant.

Need-based federal college grants take into consideration your financial situation. These college grants are usually given to students from low-income families who otherwise may not be able to attend college without the grant. 

Some grants will take into consideration a range of demographic factors such as your gender, age, ethnicity, background and more. If you come from a minority background you may find that there is a specific government college grant that you will be eligible for.

Applying for Federal and Government Grants

If you want to apply for federal or government college grants you will need to plan ahead. The government gets thousands of applications for college grants so you need to ensure that you give yourself the best chance possible for success. 

As we mentioned earlier, federal and government grants are based on either merit or need. If you don’t believe you will be eligible for a need-based college grant you should ensure that you get the highest grades possible to make you eligible for a merit-based grant.

Many federal and government grants are provided on a first come, first served basis so it is essential you get your applications in as early as possible – preferably as close to January 1st as you can, however deadlines vary between grants – so check this well in advance.

Find out more about Federal and Government Grants

Before you apply for a college grant you should make sure that you have done your research to ensure you know all of your options. With hundreds of different state government grants and several federal grants, you have a lot of information to go through. 

If you have any questions about applying for a specific college grant you should always get in contact with someone at the education office so you can be certain you know everything about the grant you are applying for. They may also be able to give you some tips to help improve your chances of success. 

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