Posted on July 18, 2015 in Government Grants
The federal government of the United States of America is the largest funder of college dreams in the country, giving out $150 billion each year to students attending four-year colleges and universities, community colleges and career schools. To be considered for these government grants, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. Federal grants are awarded based on need, so without the information applicants provide in the FAFSA, they will not receive a grant. Filling out the FAFSA is the most important thing you can do to receive a federal grant. Below are the four main types of federal grants that students can apply for:
Federal Pell Grants
Pell Grants are usually awarded to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award for the 2015-2016 academic year is $5,775. The final amount a student receives depends on his or her need, the cost of the college and more. Students can receive Federal Pell Grants for up to 12 semesters.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
These grants are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. The program is run by financial aid offices at individual colleges. Students can receive between $100 and $4,000 a year depending on their financial need, when they apply, how much other aid they get and the amount of funds available at their school.
Each school gets a set amount of FSEOG funds every year from the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid. Once they award all of those funds, they cannot give any more FSEOG grants out – so apply for federal student aid as early as you can to make sure you get the best chance at available funds. Every school sets its own deadlines, so check with individual offices to make sure.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
TEACH grants are awarded to students who plan to teach for four years at an elementary school, secondary school or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families. If you accept a TEACH grant and later decide not to serve as teacher, the grant is converted to an unsubsidized loan from the government, meaning you must pay it back.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
These grants are awarded to students who parents or guardians were members of the U.S. Armed Forces and died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. To qualify, a student must not be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant on the basis of his or her Expected Family Contribution but must meet remaining Federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements. The student must also have been under 24 or enrolled in college when his or her parent died.
To apply for any of these federal grants, students should fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible. For more information about these federal grants, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Grant website.