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How do students ensure that they get federal grants?

Let’s face it, you can save all you want for college but most times, it’s not enough. I know that the government supports citizens with the help of federal grants but is it that easy to get a grant? Scholarships are normally merit or need based. Is it the same for grants? I would like to find out more about funding for college students and what makes a student eligible for a grant. And if you check out on all the requirements, is it a sure thing that you will get the grant?

Dana Keller

in Student Loans

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Kevin Sutter on February 23, 2018

A college grant is really just free money. Unlike scholarships, grants are strictly need-based and not merit based. The first thing you need to do in order to check your eligibility is to fill out a FASFA; Free Application for Federal Student Aid. There are a few basic requirements in order to apply:

  • You should have a high school diploma, an approved homeschool education or GED.
  • You should be enrolled or should have already been accepted to enroll in an eligible certificate or degree program.
  • If you are male and are aged between 18-25 years old, you should be registered with Selective Service.
  • You must have a valid Social Security Number. This isn’t applicable if you are from the Federal States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands or the Republic of Palau.
  • You should FAFSA statements mentioning that the money will be used only towards paying for your education and that you aren’t in default and don’t owe any student loan money.
  • It’s important to also maintain progress in school that’s “satisfactory”. Your school administrator would be best to advice on what “satisfactory” means.

There are four different federal study sponsorships: Federal Pell Grant, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants (TEACH), Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. I’m more familiar with Pell so I’ll share the requirements with you.

Other than the requirements I mentioned earlier in order to secure that grant, there are a few more eligibility requirements to get a Pell Grant. A Pell Grant is meant for low-income students who don’t already have a post-high school degree. So the first thing is not have a bachelor’s or professional degree. You also need to prove that you have the financial need. The greater the family’s financial need, the more likely you are to be awarded the grant. How much your parents’ make isn’t the only determining factor. Your family’s expenses are taken into account as well. If the income is low and the expenses are high, then the need is great.

Most candidates who get college study sponsorship, Pell Grant specifically, come from families that make less than $30,000 a year. Some Pell Grants also go towards families that earn between $30,000 and $60,000. It’s rare, but not impossible, for families that earn over $60,000 to get a Pell Grant. Income includes your personal income if you have, your parents’ income and any assets that belong to you or your parents.

Kurt Price2 years ago

I’ll simply throw in my two cents with regards to funding for college students. The number one important thing in my opinion is to apply and do it on time. So many people miss out on these Federal Grants because they simply didn’t apply. Even if you’re not sure if you’re eligible, just do it. It doesn’t hurt. You should also make sure that you meet the deadlines. Do it as early as possible so that you don’t mess with your chances of getting the money. One interesting thing that you can do to get a grant is to serve your country. If you’re looking for a way to spend your gap year Americorps is a fantastic option. You will get a small stipend that you can use for supplies, an educational award once you complete the yearlong program, receive invaluable training, make an actual difference and it’s an amazing experience to highlight on your college application.


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