Education is a key to increasing earning potential, but attending college can be prohibitively expensive for some students. Students finance their college educations in a variety of ways, including committing savings to college costs, taking on loans and, in some cases, receiving grants. College grants are free gifts that do not have to be repaid.
What Are Grants?
A grant is a gift of money given to an individual or organization for a specific purpose that never has to be paid back. Organizations give grants to foster activity that they deem to be important, such as helping students attend college or promoting research and development in areas such as science, energy, agriculture, and the arts. Grants of money received for the purpose of attending college are also called scholarships. While scholarships and college grants can describe any gift of money for college, the term "scholarship" refers most commonly to gifts given based upon merits such as athletic or scholastic achievement, while the term "grant" more commonly refers to gifts given based on financial need.
College grants are beneficial to students because they directly reduce the cost of attending college with little downside. Since you never have to repay grants, they can ease the burden of debt students have coming out of college and may allow students to focus on studies rather than worrying about paying for tuition.
Some college grants come in the form of a one-time lump sum payment, while others are recurring gifts that contribute money toward several years of tuition. Grants that consist of multiple payments may include certain stipulations that students must meet to maintain funding. For example, a student with an academic scholarship based on a high grade point average might have to maintain high grades in college to keep his grant money.
Since college grants are gifts that do not have to be repaid, it is in the best interest of prospective college students to try to secure as many grants as possible. All sorts of organizations including schools, governments and corporations offer scholarships and each one will have different application requirements. Competition for grant money can be fierce.
Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.