Find College Grants Easily With This Simple Guide
(DailyDig) – The average cost of a college education in the U.S. is $35,720 per year, and it can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time you graduate. Unsurprisingly, more people are finding it increasingly difficult to afford a college education – and many graduates are struggling to pay off their student loans.
However, this doesn’t mean that financially struggling students cannot acquire a college education in the U.S. The government (federal and state) and many NGOs have programs dedicated to offering financial aid to students who can’t afford to pay for their education. Here is a brief guide to accessing these free educational grants.
Types & Categories of College Grants
College grants fall into three categories, depending on the financier:
- Federal Grants
- State Grants
- NGO Grants
The federal government funds federal grants and disburses the money via the U.S. Department of Education – they are undoubtedly the most accessible source of financial assistance for college education. State governments fund state grants under their respective departments – the requirements for accessing these grants differ from one state to another.
NGO grants are funded by entities such as charitable individuals and companies seeking to give back to the community. These grants are limited in size and, as such, are more difficult to access than federal and state grants – they have strict requirements for qualification.
3 Promising College Grants to Try
There are dozens of college grants across the three categories. However, the following three are easier to access than most:
1. Federal Pell Grants
The federal government funds Federal Pell Grants and administers them via the DOE. They are available only to undergraduate students if they can prove extreme financial hardship.
The amount that a student can get from the Federal Pell Grant depends on a range of factors, including:
- The cost of attending the school.
- Whether they are full-time or part-time students.
- The student’s planned attendance schedule (whether they will be attending school for a full academic year or less).
- Your expected family contribution.
Students can apply for the Federal Pell Grant by filling out and submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students should renew their applications at the beginning of every school year to remain eligible for financial aid.
2. Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is also only available to undergraduate college students who can prove extreme financial hardship. Students can apply by filling and submitting a FAFSA form – additionally, the student must renew their application every year to remain eligible for financial aid.
However, FSEOG grants are administered via each school’s financial aid office. As such, the school is responsible for reviewing and determining each applicant’s eligibility. It is also worth noting that not all schools participate in this grant program.
3. Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
The Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) comes with most of the same requirements and rules regulating the Federal Pell Grant. Additional requirements (besides demonstrating extreme financial need) include:
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen (however, some non-citizens may be eligible in some states).
- The student must be enrolled as either a first-year or second-year undergraduate.
- The student must be enrolled either half-time or full-time under a qualifying degree program.
- Applicants in their second year must have a GPA of at least 3.0.
As mentioned, you must be enrolled under a qualifying degree program – as such, check the ACG platform to see if your program qualifies. ACG grants are also accessible by filling and submitting a FAFSA form.
As such, don’t give up on your college education (and your future) because you cannot afford it. Instead, try applying for these government grants (and as many more as you can find).
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