The vast majority of students can't pay for the entirety of their college education without help. Even students with parents who saved for their child's college education find that they still need help paying tuition. This is a day when the average cost of four years of tuition at a public 4-year university is $40,000. If you want to attend a private college or university, expect to pay $33,500 a year. All indications point to the fact that tuition rates are only going to rise.
When you prepare to pay for college, you should never ignore a potential aid source. Educational grants are one of the best ways to pay for a very expensive education. If you can get the right grants in your financial aid package, you can make your desire to get a college degree a reality.
How Education Grants Differ From Other Types of Financial Aid
Student loans require the borrower to pay them back when they complete their education. Education grants are similar to scholarships in that they don't need to be paid back. However, while scholarships could get awarded to a student due to need and/or merit, education grants are usually awarded based on a student's need. To figure out their eligibility for federal grants, a student will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Students can use education grants to pay for various educational expenses. Some groups, organizations, and foundations can use educational grants to target a specific type of student. However, many grants are general purpose, meaning that any student with financial need is eligible.
Educational grants for college students get financial support from many different sources. They include the following:
• Colleges and Universities
• Professional Associations
• State and Federal Governments
• Public and Private Organizations
Federal Grants For College Students
Federal grants form the cornerstone of the financial aid awards of most college students. When you're deciding how to pay for college, you should always exhaust all sources of federal grants before you consider other types of aid. Federal education grants get administered by the Department of Education. These grants help millions of students pay for tuition every year.
Students have access to the following federal grant programs:
Federal Pell Grants
Pell Grants have helped students pay for their education since 1972. These grants are usually reserved for the students with the biggest financial need.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
The FSEOG is another federal grant program for students that have a high level of financial need. While the grant gets funding from the federal government, it gets administered through the financial aid offices of colleges and universities in the United States. You must apply through your school. Colleges and universities typically award these grants on a first come, first served system.
State Grants for College Students
Every U.S. state has their own Department of Higher Education that provides regulations for the colleges and universities within the state. The majority of U.S. states will provide eligible residents with some form of aid in the form of education grants. State grant programs usually get funded through state and federal taxes, as well as funds from the state lottery.
Many state grants help low-income students, women, and minority students advance in their higher education paths. If you want to get into a high-demand field such as nursing or teaching, many U.S. states have grants that can help you pursue an education in that area of study.
Other Types of Education Grants for College Students
Once you have gotten all of the federal and state grants for which you're eligible, look to non-governmental sources for ways to pay for college. Many companies and professional organizations offer grants for students who want to study the field that is associated with the grant funder's industry. Books, websites, and a simple Internet search can help you find a lot of options.
You can also look at some of the following sources for educational grants that will help you pay for college:
• Religious organizations
• Colleges and universities
• The U.S. military
• Your former high school
• Your city or town
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