Grants for college education are the right way for college students to meet their financial needs without having a financial burden. The cost of education has been skyrocketing over the past decade or so. On the other hand, wages are consistently dropping for a majority of households.
The value of college education cannot be quantified because it plays a significant role in a person’s life. It is essential to get a college education to get a professional job. College students tend to think about applying for a grant after admission to the school. In recent years, parents and high school students are applying for grants even before getting an acceptance letter from colleges.
Who qualifies for a grant for a college education?
Grants for college education have a selection criterion that is mostly need-based. A student with a lower financial capacity tends to have higher chances of getting grants. However, awards don’t overlook performance in academics, sports, talents, or leadership skills.
The need-based criterion is a significant factor but not the only factor. In this economy, no one can afford to pass up an opportunity for financial aid for a good college education. It is recommendable for a student to apply for several grants that he/she meets the requirements. Applying for several grants also increases the chances of getting at least one grant request approved.
Why should students apply for grants?
Grants for college educations are free money to fund your college education. You do not need to repay the money. Getting grants for higher education means you won’t have any debts once you graduate. It is the best bet for a free college education.
The starting wage of your first job will cater for a reasonable living. You also don’t need to worry about accruing interest on student loans as you look for a job.
College grants are far better than student loans, which tend to accrue a lot of interest in the long term. The cost of student loans has been increasing because of the increase in demand. Also, third parties offering student loans view it as an opportunity to exploit students legally.
If you have the right qualifications to apply for a grant, then send as many as possible. Student loans are hard to repay on a meager salary. The monthly repayments can be so high compared to your salary right out of college. You can contest the debt and negotiate for lower rates or a waiver in part of the interest with the help of a legal aid organization.
In the long run, repaying a student loan will be draining financially, emotionally, and physically. You may end up picking additional jobs to meet your financial needs.
Where can a student get a grant for a college education?
Knowing the right places to look for college grants is the first step towards finding the right award for you. It also saves time when you start in the right place. There are four primary sources of college grants:
- The Federal and State Governments
- Colleges and Universities
- Public and Private Organizations
- Professional Associations
The Federal and State Governments
Both the federal and the state government have their share of funds allocation for college grants to a tune of over $40 billion each year. The federal grant programs for college education are the most significant financial aid in the United States. The funds estimate average close to billions of grants every year.
The federal grant programs should be the first place where each student starts the search for college grants. The U.S Department of Education is responsible for paying college fees for many students across the country. The federal grants consider the need for financial aid more than other aspects.
The federal grant programs include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and the Federal TEACH Grant. The Federal Pell Grant has been helping students with financial aid since 1972. The FSEOG is meant for students in dire need of financial assistance and administration is through financial aid offices or the college of choice.
The Federal Teach grant is an award-for-service for students who agree to take teaching positions in fields with shortages. There is a contract with the students for a specific period of service after graduation. Deviation from the agreement can lead to revocation of the grant funds. The grant reverts into a student loan with full interest.
State governments have plenty of funds for resident students who come from low-income households, women, and minority students. The state may have a student’s financial aid commission or the department of higher education. The funds for state-funded grants come from local taxes or state lottery funds.
State grants may also be available for the non-resident student. It is essential to understand that different states offer different scholarships. It is a unique opportunity to explore various possibilities for grants in your field of interest.
Colleges and Universities
Colleges and Universities have a fund for college grants. Most of the awards are for academic achievements or athletic excellence. However, many colleges offer a variety of gifts based on gender, studies, and special needs.
Grants for academic achievements are suitable for students with a high GPA in high school studies. It can also be applicable for post-graduate students who excel in their field of study. Universities benefit by having bright students bound to make a difference in the school when they offer financial aid to high achievers. Each college has money for high achieving students.
Grants for college education based on talent can include sports, music, art, photography, and many more. Sports grants are very popular in the United States for sports like football, baseball, track, and hockey.
Art and music grants are also widely available in many colleges like the Edgewood College which offers music grants. You can find a list of talent-based awards at the local government student aid offices.
Due to the government policy of including minorities and special needs, more colleges and universities offer the groups grants. Minorities include women, students with disabilities, students with illness, and diversity students from different places. The government mission was for minorities and special needs students to get a chance at a quality education.
Women qualify for scholarships because they are the primary caregivers in society and may lack access to funds for a college education. Furthermore, there are fewer women in the workplace, especially in technical areas like engineering and medicine.
Some women colleges like the Spelman College, Agnes Scott College, and Wellesley college offer college grants to women. Black and Hispanic women can ask in the local colleges whether there college grants for their race.
Students who were ill for a long time or have a lifelong disease can access grants for a college education. The reason is, the treatment is expensive, and chances are the student cannot afford a college education. The awards are a ray of hope for students who have spent all their money on healthcare.
You can apply for a grant at the college of your choice if you meet the requirements. The college grants also consider minority students or field with a high demand for professionals.
Public and private organizations
Organizations are always looking for the best students to offer college grants. The organizations do it as a social responsibility project or students pursuing subjects aligning with a company’s core business. Many public and private organizations offer grants for a college education.
Churches are always helping the needy in their congregation and their communities. A large number of church members help raise money from good Samaritans to assist the less unfortunate students. The college grants are also given to the best performing students in a specific field. Examples are the American Baptist Church National Ministries and The Aid Association for Lutherans.
Many foundations and charities offer college grants. The cancer survivor society helps cancer survivors either parents or students — the military order of the Purple Heart provides awards to the recipient’s dependents.
There are also grants available for specific studies like research and development. The National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration offers grants for particular research areas.
The recipients should have a burning desire to find new ways to make the world a better place. The college grants are available for any subject that requires further exploration. The Future Farmers of America offers grants to agricultural studies. The Electronic Document Systems Foundation provides grants to computer students.
Professional associations set aside some funds to assist students with college fees in the same field of study. Some of the associations include:
- The National Society of Accountants
- University Film and Video Association
- National Collegiate Athletic Association
- National Strength Conditioning Association
- American Banking Association
You can find out more from the state student aid offices about the local associations that offer college grants. You can also ask your high school student adviser to help you find a scholarship from the local associations.
How to accurately find college grants
Grants for college education do not necessarily cover the total tuition fee. It is, therefore, wise to apply for several grant programs to be successful in accumulating enough funds to cover your college education.
The first step is identifying your strengths in academics and extracurricular activities. Create a list of all the good qualities that would qualify for a grant. For example;
- Best in math
- Best in music
- Class president
- Community service
- Humble background
- Good grades
- Passion for a specific subject
- Awards won in an area you love
- Minority category
- Military parent
After that, visit various student financial aids offices and websites starting with the local offices.
Collect as much information about college grants available for someone like you. It may take time, but there are a lot of local institutions that offer college grants, and students don’t know about them.
Identify a variety of college grants suitable for you. Find as many as possible to increase your chances of receiving an award. Next, prepare a college proposal for your application highlighting your need for financial aid. It is essential to state your financial need because most grants are need-based.
If you are applying for particular categories or talent grant, state your achievements and your goal. It is essential to ensure you highlight every detail in the requirements and offer supporting documents where possible. Fill in the appropriate paperwork and drop the application at the right offices.
Requirements for State and Federal Government grants
- Be a U.S citizen or an eligible non-citizen
- Have a Social Security number
- Pass the GED or have a high school diploma or an approved test to apply for Federal College Grant except for the Pell Grant. The Pell Grant allows the student to apply for finances before the final exams to their college of choice.
- Show satisfactory academic progress (Not exemplary performance)
- Study in an approved educational facility
- Register for the Selective Service Program (men between 18-25 years)
- Promise to use the funds for educational purposes only
- Select the colleges you will apply for admittance
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms.
- Ensure all information is accurate before submitting the form.
- Bank statement for checking and savings account for the student or parents
- Records for other income like veteran benefits.
It is essential to apply for grants in advance before the deadline, so you have ample time to prepare. Other college grants have similar requirements in addition to a performance record or an award-for-service contract.
Getting a grant for a college education can be a massive boost for needy students. These days even high school student worry more about the college fees than getting into college. It is therefore imperative to take advantage of all avenues that offer college grants suitable for you.
Do not limit yourself during application because most awards do not guarantee to cover the full cost of a college education. Limiting your applications can force you to take a student who will be a huge debt when you complete college.
Do your research today and start applying for college grants whether it’s for undergraduate studies or post-graduate studies. Take the first step towards a bright future.
Sometimes students looking for college grants are trying to lower their student loans. The loans sometimes have high rates, which increases the amount of loan repayable exponentially.
Iron Fist Legal finds discrepancies in student loan contracts and uses them to reduce the accrued debt. As you find grants to supplement your student loans, you can contact Iron Fist Legal for a free consultation to look over your student loan paperwork.