Most students seeking college financial aid know that “grant” means free money,
but not everyone knows all of the different sources of grant funding available.
In addition to state and federal grants, college-based grants also provide an important
source of college funding for students with financial need. Students seeking money
for college would do well to explore college-based grants as one of their options
when finding college financial aid.
Sources Of Grant Funding
College-based grants are just one of many kinds of college scholarships and grants
available. Typically, grants are need-based in some way, though that doesn’t mean
that they are exclusively offered to only the poorest of students. While federal
grant programs, such as Pell and SEOG, are typically reserved for students with
the lowest expected family contributions as determined by the Free Application for
Federal Student Aid, other grants may not have such strict income criteria. A number
of state grant programs, and even some federal grants, focus on a student’s college
major or intended career more so than the student’s family income, and campus-based
grant programs have other criteria, as well.
College-Based Grant Criteria
College-based grants are often awarded as a supplement to federal grants and state
grants, often as a means of making college more affordable for a particular student
or group of students. For example, student athletes are likely to receive college-based
grant awards in addition to other athletic scholarships. Public and private colleges
may also offer campus-based grants for minorities, women, or out-of-state students.
Students with a sibling at the college they plan to attend may find college-based
grant aid available to them, as well. Many private colleges also use grants to discount
tuition for students they want to recruit or to offset the cost of tuition for financially
needy students whose federal student financial aid does not cover their full cost
Finding College-Based Grants
The best way to find college-based grants on your campus is to talk to your college’s
financial aid office. They can tell you what grant programs your college offers,
as well as how to apply. Some college-based grants may be awarded automatically
to all students who complete the FAFSA by the college deadline, while others will
require a separate application. You may also want to check with your department,
as there may be college-based grants for students with your major.
We also have a number of college-based grant opportunities listed in our scholarship
database. Conducting a free college scholarship search can alert you to campus-based
grants at the institutions in which you’ve expressed interest, as well as help you
find other college grants and scholarships that are relevant to your situation.
Below are a few of the college-based grants we’ve heard about to give you some idea
of what is out there for students.