Have you ever thought about going back to school or currently enrolled, but aren’t exactly sure how to pay for tuition and books? Financial aid, scholarships and government grants may be available to help pay for school. Before we dig in on how to get an education grant, let’s discuss the difference between the various college financial aid options.
What is an Education Grant?
According to the Federal Student Aid website, a grant is often called “gift aid” because it is considered free money. In other words, grants are funds that are made available to you that, unlike some other forms of financial aid, don’t ever have to be paid back. There are, of course, stipulations that must be made in order to make sure this is the case.
The most common type of government education grant is the Federal Pell Grant, which can be obtained by first submitting an application of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once the application is completed, you can work with the college you intend on attending to find out how much of this financial aid funding you are awarded. In 2016, as much as $5,815 a year can be awarded.
Requirements to Get a Grant
Unlike most scholarships and other forms of financial aid that are awarded based on merit (such as your GPA), the Pell Grant is typically provided based on financial need. In other words, would you like to go to college to advance your career but you need financial assistance to help pay for school? The government is very interested in helping American’s increase their skills and qualifications in order to increase job and labor statistics, as well as the overall economy.
5 things considered to determine how much you receive in a grant award
- What your financial needs are
- How much your tuition is
- If you are full-time or part-time student
- If you plan to attend for a full year or just part of the year
- Do you already have a bachelor’s or professional degree
Anytime you can get a grant over other forms of scholarships to help pay for your tuition, books, student housing and other education related expenses, it is a good idea to start there. Because you don’t have to repay the award, it will help reduce and manage any student debt that you take on — making life easier post graduation when seeking a career that matches your degree.
Another thing to consider is to talk to the financial aid office at the college you plan on attending or are currently enrolled in. Most often your college also offers programs to help individuals reduce their tuition. Extra funding it typically available and provided by the colleges for students that meet income or merit qualifications.
Where Else to Apply for Grants
Many students or perspective students fail to look at other alternatives. For example, most states provide grant funding for students as well. Many local businesses and private groups also make funds available to support people in the community who are interested in expanding their skills and education. These can be more specific to race, ethnicity, degree study or career path for example. Many employers, for example, are now providing education grants to their employees to help develop their qualifications for advancement within their organization.