Education grants can provide transformative financial assistance to disadvantaged students who want to pursue college educations. These higher education grants may be awarded to applicants based on their financial situations or the types of degrees they wish to pursue. Need-based financial assistance for college students can be as diverse as the applicants themselves. Therefore, even the most non-traditional students may be able to receive financial assistance that could help them obtain advanced degrees. Applicants must also remember that grants are different than loans because acceptees do not need to repay the grant money they receive.
When low-income students are searching for financial aid opportunities, they should be sure to find out which government education grants they can apply for. It can be quite costly to finance a college education. However, prospective enrollees who take the time to research the different educational grants for students that are available may discover that they have options. Therefore, these students will learn that it is possible to afford a college education with the right grant-based support.
Who can receive education grants?
Educational grants are available to students who come from various backgrounds and financial situations. Generally, financial aid is broken down into two major categories. First, there is merit-based aid, which usually exists in the form of scholarships. Second, there are grants. In the majority of cases, grants are a form of need based financial aid. Recipients are awarded these funds due to financial need and family earnings.
Usually, federal programs rely on applicants’ economic need as the primary criteria for determining who can receive these government grants. However, different programs can also require applicants to meet additional requirements, such as those relating to residency, citizenship and academic performance. As a result, students should remember that there are no eligibility requirements that can apply to all educational grants that applicants must meet. Candidates must be sure to contact the grant providers to determine if they are eligible for funding though these particular sources.
Learn About Federal Education Grants for Students
Federal education grants are available to students throughout the country. In order to receive this funding, applicants must first file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Once petitioners complete the FAFSA application, they are automatically considered for federal grants. There are four major programs that are available to students. These include:
- Federal Pell Grants: These grants can be awarded to low income students who are pursuing higher education. Award totals can change each year, and enrollees are only eligible to receive funding for 12 semesters throughout their entire lives.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG): Students who qualify for this grant also demonstrate economic need. Recipients may receive up to $4,000 per year, but they must be sure that their colleges or universities participate in this program before they can receive funding.
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant: These education grants for teachers can provide annual funding to students who agree to work at high-need elementary schools for at least four years within eight years of graduating.
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants: Students whose guardians or parents passed away in Afghanistan or Iraq after 9/11 may qualify for this grant. However, these enrollees may not also be eligible to receive the Pell Grant.
About State-Based Education Grants
Different states across the country offer specific financial aid opportunities to in-state residents. Similar to federal government education grants, these funds are available to enrollees based on financial need. Usually, individual states offer these opportunities, and they are available at public institutions throughout the state.
The WV Higher Education Grant is available to West Virginia residents who are pursuing their bachelor’s degrees. To receive this award, students must:
- Have lived in WV for at least one calendar year before applying for the program.
- Be U.S. citizens.
- Have graduated high school or gained equal certificates from accredited programs.
- Have high financial need and strong academic records.
- Enroll in a participating WV or Pennsylvania undergraduate school.
Alternatively, need based financial aid in West Virginia is also available to part-time students. The Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student (HEAPS) Grant Program is offered to students who are enrolled on a half-time basis. This program requires recipients to follow the same rules as the standard higher education grant for full-time students. However, HEAPS recipients also must adhere to the Military Selective Service Act. Likewise, enrollees may not have defaulted on educational loans, nor can they have been incarcerated.
Florida offers first generation college student scholarships to families that demonstrate financial need. The First Generation Matching Grant (FGMG) Program connects low-earning students who enroll in Florida universities or colleges with monetary support. In addition to filing their FAFSA, applicants must also meet the following requirements to qualify for these higher education grants:
- Residency and immigration statuses: Applicants must be Florida residents. Additionally, claimants must have lawful immigration statuses or be U.S. citizens.
- First-time enrollees: Petitioners may not receive these funds if they have already earned bachelor’s degrees.
- First-generation statuses: In order to receive this financial aid opportunity, applicants’ parents may not hold bachelor’s degrees or other advanced degrees.
- Financial need: Applicants need to meet the program’s financial requirements for qualifying as low-income applicants.
- Enrollment requirements: Students must enroll in a participating Florida institution and enroll in at least six academic credit hours.
California offers various need based financial aid programs to qualified, local applicants. For example, Cal Grants are available to petitioners who live and plan on studying in the state. These enrollees also need economic support to attend colleges or universities, and applicants’ families must meet certain income requirements. In some instances, individuals must also maintain satisfactory academic performance during their enrollment.
Alternatively, the state also awards educational grants to students who were raised in foster care. The California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth awards up to $5,000 annually to college applicants. These candidates must have spent at least a day in foster care when they were between 16 and 18 years old, and they must qualify as low-income. Recipients may use these funds to pay for education costs, as well as the following expenses while they are in school:
- Child care