The federal government has five programs that give money to students to attend college. These are federal grant programs; they never have to be repaid. It can be difficult to find out about the grants and figure out which ones may apply to you. Here are some steps to help you through the process.
Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, or FSEOG, are the two most common needs-based grant programs.
The programs are geared toward low-income households, and grants are based on financial need. The actual assessment of need is a complex process, but each grant program can provide about $5,000 per student for the school year.
The Academic Competitiveness Grants, or ACG, along with the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant, or National SMART Grants, are available in amounts ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars for the school year.
Both programs are awarded based on a combination of academic achievement and financial need. To be eligible, students must also meet eligibility for Pell Grants.
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education, or TEACH, Grant Program provides up to $4,000 per year for students who are preparing to be teachers, and who are willing to commit to teaching in low-income public schools when they enter the workforce. This grant program has been around only since 2007.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the starting point for applying for federal grants. Your school financial aid or guidance counselor can help you get started here.