Education might be costly, but ignorance is far more so. Knowledge and skills are the foundations of every successful job, which leads to a good lifestyle. This is why it is critical to understand how education grants might help you receive inexpensive education.
By providing financing support, grants help expand educational options. As a result, more students will get proper education, without worrying about funding.
What Are Educational Grants?
Grants are sources of funding provided by a government entity or an organization. The federal government offers grants to students attending college or vocational school. Unlike loans, most types of grants are non-repayable forms of financial assistance.
There is more than one provider of educational grants including:
- The Federal Government.
- Your state government.
- Colleges and vocational schools.
- Private or non-profit organizations.
Through this article, we are going to save you the search, and tell you what types of grants are available, how to apply, what benefits you get… and more.
What Is the Difference Between Scholarships And Grants?
Because educational grants and scholarships share many similarities, people frequently confuse the two terms or use them interchangeably. Scholarships and educational grants are both free money sources that can assist you in paying for your education.
However, the major difference between educational grants and scholarships is that grants are normally need-based, whereas scholarships might be merit-based or need-based. What does it mean to be merit-based? It means that the scholarship is offered to you because of something you do, such as a skill, a hobby, or an accomplishment.
A federal grant is a type of financial aid in which the US Government redistributes its resources to qualified students who need financial support. The US Department of Education provides a lot of federal grants to students in four-year colleges or universities, community colleges, and vocational schools.
When it comes to college affordability, families should know that the Federal Pell Grant is the first type of aid that a student with extraordinary financial need may expect to receive. In general, Pell Grants are only available to undergraduate students who have demonstrated severe financial need and have not got a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree.
Students do not have to repay this grant, which makes it even more desirable. It is a substantial source of educational assistance. It helps students pay the costs of college, such as tuition, fees, housing, food, and other educational costs.
The amount of assistance the Pell Grant provides depends on the following factors:
- The Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
- The cost of attendance at the chosen college or university.
- How many academic years you are planning to attend.
- Your enrollment status; whether part-time, full-time, or somewhere in between.
Institutions calculate a student’s Pell Grant award each year depending on these factors using a chart from the Department of Education that is updated annually. However, the Federal Student Aid declared that the maximum Pell Grant award is $7,395 for the 2023–24 award year (July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024).
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
FSEOG provides financial assistance to low-income undergraduates who need a large amount of financial support to pay for college. Through this grant, you can receive up to $4,000 a year, but that depends on how much aid you receive from other resources and whether the grant is available in your institution.
Every year, each participating institution receives a specific amount of FSEOG funds from the Office of Federal Student Aid. Once all of the school’s FSEOG funds have been distributed to students, no more FSEOG awards can be issued for that year.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, like other government grants, provide money to college or vocational school students to help them pay for their education. Nevertheless, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants have unique eligibility requirements.
You may qualify for this grant if:
- Your parent or guardian served in the United States Army and died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, and
- At the time of your parent’s or guardian’s death, you were under 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time in college, and
- You are not eligible for Pell Grant because of your EFC, but you meet the remaining requirements.
The grant award is the same as the maximum Federal Pell Grant available for the award year, but it cannot exceed your cost of attendance for that year. Bear in mind, though, that the sequester law has affected this grant, so make sure to check for updates.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
This one is a bit different from the other federal educational grants. As a condition of getting the grant, you must agree to complete a teaching service obligation. Without fulfilling this condition, the TEACH Grant will be changed to a loan that you must repay with interest.
The TEACH Grant Program awards up to $4,000 in annual grants to students who are completing or planning to complete course work required to begin a teaching career.
How to Apply For Any of These Grants?
It is a quite simple process, just fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it. Once complete, the college or university uses the information on that form to determine if the applicant is qualified for the grant or not.
When You May Need to Repay a Grant
There are some cases where you might be required to repay the grant award you received, for example:
- You left the program for which the grant was awarded too soon.
- Because of a change in your enrollment status, you are no longer eligible for your grant (for instance, if you switch from full-time enrollment to part-time, your grant amount will be reduced).
- If you received scholarships or grants from outside sources that decreased your need for federal student aid.
- You were awarded a TEACH Grant, but you did not complete your service requirement.
In that case, your institution will notify you to pay a portion of your grant. After that, you will have 45 days to either pay back that part of the grant in full or enter into a satisfactory repayment arrangement.
Other Types of Grants
There are numerous grants available for women, minorities, foreign students, and students with disabilities. These are some of the most disregarded grants, so check to see if any of them apply to you and fill out an application. So, before you get stuck with a student loan, consider these other options to avoid extra financial burden. There may be more local opportunities than you realize!
Why Are Grants So Important?
Grants are free money that enhances your chances of getting a high-quality education. While everyone realizes that higher education can open up more doors, lots of people are unaware of how many! Higher education has personal, financial, and career advantages.
Learning is the key to gaining new soft and hard skills. This knowledge is valuable for your personal advantage and for the improvement of your career. With more skills, you get to be more distinguished than other candidates when applying for a job. Moreover, you can use those skills to start your own business or make extra money.
Higher Self Esteem
When students get higher education, they may be able to boost their self-esteem. This is due to the fact that obtaining a degree requires a significant amount of effort. Degrees are not easy to earn as they require time management, studying, hard work, and other skills. So, when students get their certificates, they should feel proud of themselves. This is especially the case if they are the first in their families to pursue higher education.
Some of the financial advantages include the fact that people with a higher degree are more likely to earn more money due to more career opportunities. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree can earn $900 more each week than those with a lower level of education, according to recent reports.
Higher education costs can be overwhelming and stressful. Still, everyone has a full right to get it, no matter what their financial status. This is why the federal government offers multiple educational grants to help low-income students earn high degrees.
There are 4 main federal grants; Pell Grant, FSEOG, TEACH Grant, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. You can apply to any of them in the same way; by filling out a FAFSA form, which your institution will use to determine your eligibility.
By the same token, you can check for other types of grants that may apply specifically to your situation. Most of these grants aim to support international students, women, national organizations, minorities, and more.
Receiving one of these grants can remove your financial burden and provide you with better opportunities. As a result of getting a higher education, you will get to improve your skills, work quality, and overall financial situation.
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