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Federal Grants

Federal grants are an excellent source of college funding because they are guaranteed by the government and have stable disbursement amounts. Grants do not need to be repaid. Eligibility for grants is determined your Free Application for Student Aid, or FAFSA. Federal grants are primarily for undergraduates, although first-time graduate students can be considered for certain programs. Most federal grant money is for students with high financial need. Some grants have a minimum GPA requirement or other academic standards. Below is a list of available federal grants. Browse through our site for examples of different types of grants.

The Federal Pell Grant

The most popular federal grant is the Pell Grant which is for undergraduates who do not have a bachelor’s or professional degree. There are cases where first-time graduate students are eligible for Pell grants. The maximum award changes yearly. The maximum award for the 2015-2016 academic year is $5,775. Your eligibility is decided by the FAFSA. Students whose total family income is $50,000 a year or less qualify, but most Pell grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000. The total amount of Pell money available to colleges is determined by government funding. Students who do receive the grant often get less than the maximum amount.

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

If you are eligible for the Pell Grant you also qualify for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program. This grant is for undergraduates with the greatest unmet financial need. Eligible students receive between $100 and $4,000 depending on their school and Expected Family Contribution. The grant is distributed by your college, but is awarded to the college by the Federal Government. To participate in the FSEOG program, colleges must contribute one dollar for every three dollars of federal money. The FAFSA determines your eligibility, and some schools do not participate in the program.

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program was created in 2007 through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act to provide financial assistance for teachers of high-demand fields who work in low-income schools. Eligible students can receive up to $4,000 per year. Low-income elementary and secondary schools are designated by the Department of Education. High-demand fields of study include foreign language, special education, math and science. If a student receives the TEACH grant and does not teach, the grant becomes a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG) is a federal grant for students whose parent or guardian was member of the U.S. armed forces and died in service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11. This is not a need-based grant. Students’ who qualify for the Pell Grant based on Expected Family Income are not eligible for this award. Students are allowed to meet other Pell requirements, other than eligibility based on EFC. Students also had to be less than 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time in higher education at the time of the parent/guardian’s death. The current annual award grants up to $5,311.71 for qualifying individuals.

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Last Reviewed: January 2020