Government Grants for College

Escalating college costs mean identifying ways to fund school without going bankrupt! Clearly, loans are not the answer. Numerous families and students are experiencing the heavy burden of student loan debt with the additional problems of unemployment combined with the continuing economic decline in the United States, and throughout the world.

But what are the solutions to financing college without going into debt? While grants are the alternative, securing them is quite another.

Let’s start with the most commonly known government grant, the Pell Grant Program. Over 5400 institutes of higher learning participate in this program. Grant amounts vary depending upon financial need with $ 5,500 be the most any one student can be awarded. Pell Grants are need-driven – need, here, means financial need. To obtain a Pell Grant means that the student must demonstrate that he or she, and the student family has very limited income to afford college costs. The application to secure grant is lengthy primary because so many financial documents are required with submission. These documents are required to demonstrate financial need. Important to Pell Grants is the following:

  • A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid;
  • The maximum Pell grant for is $5,550; and
  • The amount depends on financial need, costs to attend school, status as a full-time or part-time student, and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

Students interested in Pell Grants must complete the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application is required, and can be done on-line or the form downloaded and completed by hand.

Beyond the Pell Grant Program, states offer grants to individual students as well. Generally, such grants are related to income so students must show financial need demonstrating that they and/or their families are of low-income. As with the Pell Grant Program, students must complete the FAFSA.

Colleges and universities do have Financial Aid Offices, and prospective students should contact them to understand not just the Pell Grant Program, but gain assistance with any other grants that could be available to them.

For students of extraordinary merit, primary those earning advanced degrees, there are, on occasion, fellowships offered through the various granting agencies of the United States. These are highly sought after, require academic excellence, and the student must be engaged in research in vital areas of human concerns and needs. These grants are not only selective, but exclusive! And while the funds are significant, the competition to garner them including the attention received can mean the beginning to a very promising and fulfilling career!

Yet, in order to secure government grants for college requires that one begin the process early. Some state grants are on a “first-come, first-serve” basis, so the “early bird catches the worm,” so to speak. Remember: All paperwork for any grant is carefully reviewed. Any mistakes or vague information delays the process.

Act early, and provide accurate and complete information.

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