There are hundreds of government college grants that help students pay for school.
An education at a private university these days costs upwards to $30,000 or more per year (in 2015-2016 school year). The average public university costs $10,000 per year and community college is around $5,000 per year.
Unless you come from a wealthy background most likely you can use some help paying for your school tuition, books, and living expenses. This is where college grants come in.
Why College Grants Work
Education is such an important area to the future of our country, that the U.S. is willing to make large investments in the form of grants to help.
The education system knows that it’s difficult for most students to afford the average $30,000 per year college bill, so the U.S. Government can offer as much as $50,000 per year in grants for your college. These education grants help both men and women and are divided into four main categories:
- Degree Based
- Subject Based
- Student Based
- Minority Based
There is grant money you can receive in each of those categories so it is worth applying for every one of them that you fit in.
You may also qualify for educational grant money for the following programs:
- Graduate school
- Undergraduate school
- Secondary school
- Primary school
- Law school
- Medical school
- Environmental Science
- Business Management
- Computer Science
- All accredited colleges
- Trade schools
- Online colleges
- Campus colleges
- Many other disciplines…
Chances are that you fall into at least one of the areas that the Government gives you money in. The three organizations that award this money are (1) Federal and state governments; (2) Colleges and Universities and (3) Public and private organizations.
Types of educational grants:
- Federal Grants – Pell grants can offer up to $5,775 yearly (updated for 2016) for undergraduate studies that aim on earning Bachelor’s degrees and Professional degrees. SEOG funds (Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant) can offer up to $4,000 each year per person. CWS funds can offer money to part-time students as well. The Academic Competitiveness Grant awards money to freshman and sophomores, while the National Science and Math Access to Retail Talent (SMART) Grant awards money to juniors and seniors.
- State Grants and Scholarships – are offered to the highest ranked students in high school, students in need, students with disabilities, and minority students based on merit, grades, test scores, and need.
- Private Scholarships – Over 180,000 scholarships are offered from private donations and companies.
- Privately Sponsored Funds – Many foundations, churches, corporations, unions, and fraternal organizations offer numerous scholarships. You usually have to search a little harder for these but when you find them they are definitely worth applying for.
- Artist funding – Some grants, funds, and residential programs offer money in the fields of the arts such as dance, film, theater, painting and writing.
- Loan programs – Such programs need to be paid back but offer help with low interest rates. The Stafford Guaranteed Loan offers up to $6,625 per year. The Perkins Loan program offers up to $3,000 and $5,000 a year for undergraduate and graduate students respectively. These loan programs come at very low interest rates so it is highly recommended you apply for them if you need the money for your education. The updated 2015-2016 fixed interest rate on these loans for undergrads is 4.29%; and the combined borrowing totals for direct loans can be up to $12,500 per year depending on your school year and degree.
The most common College Grants are:
- Federal Grant Programs – almost everyone qualifies. Typically this is the FAFSA.
- Pell Grants – almost everyone qualifies; most popular college grant. Also uses the FAFSA.
- Need Based Grants – qualify if you cannot afford college. Both you and your parents can qualify for need based grants to help your college education.
- Minority Grants – minorities qualify.
- Disabled Student Grants – disabled students qualify.
- Private Grants – vary based on organization that is offering the grant. You can typically get one if you research all the private grants you qualify for and do a good job on the application. There are many niche private grants you can research.
- Graduate and Doctoral Grants – graduate and doctoral students qualify.
As you can see there are plenty of categories that you probably fit into to receive money so we suggest you apply for your college grant money today. Remember that grant money does not need to be paid back. Student loans however do need to be paid back.
Low Income Students
The majority of students applying and receiving college grants are low income students, also called need-based grants. Need based college grants are to give everyone a fair opportunity to get an education. Some common need-based grants are the Pell Grant, a Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students, and several others. The first place you should apply is called the FAFSA.
As updated above, the maximum Pell grant award for this current period until June 30, 2016 is $5,775. The amount you are awarded will depend on the cost involved to attend your school, your financial needs and your student status.
Some colleges are set up to pay your tuition directly with your Pell grant money from the Federal Government while other schools give you a check directly and it is up to you to disperse the funds toward your school expenses.
To apply for Federal Grants, you must do so on the FAFSA website.
After applying for a Pell grant which tends to be the most popular, catch-all government funding available to students today, we recommend you thoroughly look for additional grant and scholarship availabilities that you may quality for.
The next best place to look are non-government grants. Corporations and non-profits are the biggest source of non-government grants available. An example is Sallie Mae who offers free college money here.
Other popular grant options today are military grants and subject specific grants like healthcare and teacher grants. When there is a shortage of professionals like there currently is in healthcare and teaching, there are typically more grants for college available.
Lastly, be sure you look into minority grant money. This is another huge source for African American students, Hispanic students, Native Americans and Asians.
We will continue to update this page with the latest grant money information.