Home > Resources > College Prep > Applying > Applying For Grants

Applying for Grants

It isn’t easy to find money to pay for college, but it’s also probably not as hard as you think. As with college scholarships, grants are free money you won’t need to pay back, so why wouldn’t you try to find as many as you qualify for as you can? Almost everyone will find themselves eligible for grant funding, so it’s up to you to do your research so that you know exactly how much funding you’re eligible for and are able to keep your student loan debt at a manageable level post-graduation. Grants will range from a couple hundred dollars to a free ride at some institutions, so don’t miss a good opportunity to fund your college education by skipping out on applying for grants.

Know the Basics

The first step in applying for most grants, particularly federally-funded awards, is filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. That application will come up with your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which will determine what the government expects you to come up with as far as financing your education. The results of your FAFSA, which you’ll see on the Student Aid Report (SAR) sent to you, will give you a better idea of grants you could receive from the government, the state, and your intended college. Some state-sponsored or college-based grants will require additional applications for their grant funding, as many have academic requirements outside of any need-based qualifications. Pay attention to the details of each award you’re going for so that you don’t submit an incomplete application, as grant funding waits for no one. Funding levels of federal grants in particularly change annually, so if you apply after the deadline or even later than the early birds who file their financial aid applications as soon as they’re available, you could be out of luck.

Am I Eligible?

The neediest students will be eligible for the most grant funding on the federal level. Federal Pell Grant recipients, for example, take into account both the student’s and that student’s parents’ income levels. Most Pell grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000. Those found eligible for Pell Grants may also find themselves eligible for other grants, including the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program, Academic Competitiveness Grant and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant. Most colleges will also have a pool of funding available to assist low-income students in attending their school.

While the vast majority of grants are need-based, some may pay more attention to specific student characteristics over others. The most popular grants are broken down by the federal, state and college level, but many private organizations and local groups have grant funds set up to help you get to college. Students going into fields where there is a high need for new graduates may also find a plethora of options for grant funding. Many states offer grants to students based on specific criteria, such as whether the student is a minority or planning to pursue a particular high need field, especially if that state is lacking new recruits in certain areas, such as education or nursing. Grants are very specific, so don’t waste time applying for awards you don’t qualify for when you could be finding grants specific to you. Be sure to read the fine print, as well. Some grants will be awarded with the understanding that you’ll do something for whoever is awarding the funding, such as spending several years teaching in a high-needs school district. Doing some research will allow you to maximize your chances of not only landing more free money, but learning about all the possibilities out there to do so.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Marijuana-Funded College Scholarship Program to Aid Colorado Students

April 25, 2017

by Susan Dutca

The $1.3 billion marijuana industry in Colorado is tackling the $1.3 trillion national student debt crisis by using its tax revenue to help students pay for college. Pueblo County will be the first to use cannabis-funded college scholarships for education funding, money that once "fueled criminal empires." [...]

College Scholarships for Moms

April 21, 2017

by Susan Dutca

Being a college student can be daunting, period. With the surplus in coursework, responsibilities and stressing over college debt and expenses, college students are high-anxiety all year round...not just around finals time. On top of that, some student-parents must manage going to, and paying for college while raising and paying for their children. Fortunately, there are great financial aid resources and college scholarships reserved for students who have families; including students with dependent children, single mom scholarships, and single dad scholarships! With Mother's Day right around the corner, indulge in these exclusive free college scholarships- for your accomplishments as a student and mom. [...]

New York Free College Scholarship Program Not So "Free"?

April 18, 2017

by Susan Dutca

New York's free college scholarship program is being met with heavy criticism as more details have emerged and it is set to start in fall of 2017. Though lauded for being the first of its kind to offer free college tuition at public colleges and universities, many European countries already offer free college, regardless of family income level...and at the tax payers' expense. [...]

Follow Us:

facebook twitter rss feed