Updated: Aug 16
Wouldn’t it be great for a grant to pay some (or all) of your college expenses?
The federal Pell Grant is the most popular grant. There are also state level grants, but they all vary by state.
A great way to learn more about federal and state grants is to visit your state higher education website.
Before we get started, let’s clear up some questions you may have about the differences between loans, scholarships, and grants.
· Loans. Loans can be issued either by the government or private lender. Student loans must be paid back, just like any other type of loan.
· Scholarships. Depending on the scholarship provider, scholarships are distributed based on academic performance, need based, athletics, hobby, interest, talent, and a host of other qualifications. Scholarships don’t have to be repaid.
· Grants. Grants are monetary gifts given based upon financial need. Grants do not have to be paid back.
The most common educational grant is the Pell Grant. Named after Senator Claiborne Pell, the Pell Grant program is administered by the United States Department of Education.
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form should be completed before starting college and updated annually. The form requires information about income, financial needs, grades, and more. The form can be filled out and delivered at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The form is also available at your student’s high school.
A completed FAFSA must be submitted each year to re-establish eligibility. Failure to do so will result in your teen not receiving any federal aid.
1. Eligibility. Eligibility is determined from the information in the FAFSA. The Department of Education utilizes a formula to determine the family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC determines if the financial need criteria is met (Starting with the 2023-2024 FAFSA application year, EFC is changing to SAI).
2. Undergraduates only. The applicant must be an undergraduate student that has not earned a bachelor’s degree.
3. Citizenship. The applicant must be a United States Citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
4.Valid Social Security. Have a valid Social Security number unless you are from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.
The maximum award for Pell Grant is $6895 for 2022-23 award year. This number can change from year to year, depending on funding availability.
Don’t forget about state-level grants. It’s not just the federal government that provides grants; some states do as well. Individual colleges and universities can have their own grant programs, too. Ask each college you are interested in attending, and don’t forget to check with your department major.
We want to help your teen get the most from their college experience and getting grants to help finance their college education is a big help.
May the force be with you!