Federal College Grants
Students who are planning their future college careers–but aren’t sure how to fund them–may worry about being saddled with enormous student loans after graduation. While typical student loans feature low interest rates and grace periods before they need to be repaid, the prospect of being approximately $50,000-$150,000 in debt fresh out of college is daunting. Federal college grants can help.
Unlike student loans, federal college grants do not need to be paid back. And there is a lot of money out there for students: as of 2006, the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) disbursed approximately $60 billion dollars each year. In fact, the FSA is the largest source for student financial aid in the United States. One of the most well-know federal grants is the Pell Grant, a need-based reward. However, new grants are created each year, including the Academic Competitiveness Grant and the National SMART (Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent) Grant.
How to Apply for Federal College Grants
To apply for federal aid, prospective students must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). While each state will have a deadline to turn in the form, it cannot be submitted before January 1 of the academic year in question. Applicants will detail their personal information as well as their college plans and general financial standings.
The typical eligibility requirements for federal grants are as follows: applicants must be citizens of the U.S. or qualified noncitizens. For most FSA grants, applicants must meet certain financial need guidelines. They must have valid Social Security numbers and high school diplomas. Qualified applicants must be working toward a degree or a certificate and must promise to only use the grant money for educational uses. Most importantly, recipients must achieve satisfactory grades once they get to college!