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FSEOG: Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants

While not as well-known as the Federal Pell Grant program, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program is a great source of federal funding that you won’t need to pay back after graduation. Your eligibility can only be determined through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which the Department of Education starts accepting on January 1st of each year. Completing your FAFSA online will speed up processing and give you more time to evaluate your funding options. Remember that there is a set amount of federal aid available each year and that funding allocations change annually, so it’s always best practice to apply as early as possible.

What is a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant?

The FSEOG is awarded to undergraduates with the greatest amount of unmet financial need who also qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, the most popular federal grant. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest expected family contributions (EFCs) will be considered first for a FSEOG. (An EFC is determined through a standard formula used by the Department of Education that determines how much funding you may receive from the federal government.)

Pell Grants are usually a foundation of financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added.

Who may be eligible for FSEOGs?

Your FAFSA will determine your eligibility, as some schools may not participate in the program. Schools must contribute financially to the FSEOG program for funds to be made available to them. For every three dollars of federal money allocated to FSEOG, the institution is required to contribute one dollar. Currently, there are about 4,000 schools nationwide that participate in the program, but funding available one year may not be available the next. If you are found eligible for the Pell Grant and your school participates in the FSEOG program, you may be eligible for this additional federal grant funding. The federal government awards FSEOG grant funds to participating schools as a way of supplementing Pell Grants for the neediest of students. Schools may award funds at their own discretion to Pell eligible students who still need additional assistance to find money for college.

How much money can I get?

Most students receive between $100 and $4,000 depending on the intended college and how much funding they have available, your EFC and general financial need, policies at your college’s financial aid office and when you apply. Funding levels may change annually at your college, so fill out that FAFSA – or file a renewal FAFSA – as soon as it’s available for the best shot at maximum funding allotments. Students eligible for this grant award and the Pell Grant may also find they are eligible for additional federal grants, such as the Academic Competitiveness Grant.

How will I be awarded the money?

This federal grant can also be considered a college-based grant as it is disbursed by your intended college. If you're eligible, your school will credit your account, pay you directly (usually by check), or combine these methods. Your school must pay you at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter). Schools that do not use semesters, trimesters, or quarters must disburse funds at least twice per academic year.

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