You’ve just received (or are about to receive) your high school diploma. College is right around the corner, and you’re excited to further your education and see what life has in store. Being financially prepared is crucial for many incoming students.
College grants are a common way to bridge the gap and cover costs such as tuition, room and board, and textbooks. Finding grants on your own can be confusing. We’ve explained the process here, along with everything you need to know to apply for student grants.
What are Grants?
Grants are forms of funding many students rely on for college. Grants are referred to as “gift aid” because you don’t need to pay them back (unlike loans). Grants are awarded based on financial need, while scholarships are given based on merit.
College grants can come from a variety of sources. The most common grants are those from the federal or state government, but grants also can come from colleges, career schools, and nonprofit or private organizations.
How to Apply for Grants
The first step to applying for grants is finding them, which can feel a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to look. Thankfully, the internet makes it easier than ever. We recommend starting on the Federal Student Aid webpage. This office determines eligibility and awards grants available through the Department of Education.
The Federal Student Aid office provides all the information you need about federal assistance, including Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.
There are other resources for state and private grants. The College Grants Database, for example, allows you to search by state, career, student type, school type, and more. It makes it easy to track down the opportunities for which you are eligible.
Applying for Grants
Grants are given based on financial need, so there’s no reason to worry about lengthy essays or other application requirements, but you’ll still need a bit of information. It’s a good idea to have your parents’ W-2s on hand, as well as your own personal details. You can apply for many grants in a matter of minutes.
Here are four tips to get the most out of college grants:
- Don’t forget to apply locally
- Go after scholarships with smaller awards
- Be willing to put in the time.
- Look for personalized scholarships.
Interested in even more tips? Then be sure to read our recent blog post: 7 Tips for Maximizing College Grants and Scholarships.
Remember, you won’t be eligible for every available grant. This can be stressful if you’re relying on aid to fund your education, but don’t give up hope. For the best results, keep searching and applying for grants as often as possible.