The government awards three types of financial aid for higher education: grants, loans, and work-study. Grants are at the top of the financial aid food chain since they do not need to be repaid. They are in effect free cash for college. However, grants also have the strictest financial need requirements.
The following is a description of the two major grant programs: Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.
Federal Pell Grants
Eligibility: For undergraduate study, with the exception of post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs. You can be enrolled less than half time. Provides every eligible student with funds.
Based on: Financial need as determined by your Estimated Family Contribution and Cost Of Attendance, full-time or part-time status, length of enrollment, i.e., full academic year or less.
Note: The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount of money the government determines you can afford to pay for your education based on the information you provide in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the form required to apply for federal financial aid. The Cost Of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the total cost of attending a specific college and includes the annual tuition, room and board, books, travel, and personal expenses.
Amount: Aid Available represents the amount of funds awarded to
participants in the Federal Student Aid programs. Depending upon the
program, this total may include federal appropriated dollars,
institutional or state matching dollars, and federal or private loan
Number of New Awards Anticipated: 7,022,000
Average New Award: $3,611
Range of New Awards: $486–$5,350
To apply: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
How you get the money: Your school can credit the grant to your school account, pay you directly, or do a combination of both.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs)
Details: Grants for undergraduates with the most financial need, i.e., the lowest Expected Family Contributions. FSEOG Grants do not need to be repaid. The government provides limited funds for individual schools to administer this program. This means that there is no guarantee that every eligible student will receive an FSEOG Grant.
Based on: Financial need, other aid you receive, and the availability of funds at your school. Priority is given to those who receive Federal Pell Grants.
Amount: Aid Available represents the amount of funds awarded to participants in the Federal Student Aid
programs. Depending upon the program, this total may include federal appropriated dollars, institutional or state
matching dollars, and federal or private loan capital. $100-$4,000 per year.
Number of New Awards Anticipated: 1,258,289
Average New Award: $762
Range of New Awards: Up to $4,000
To apply: Contact your school to find out if additional information is required other than the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Deadlines are determined by each school and may be earlier than the FAFSA deadline.
How you get the money: The school will credit your account, pay you by check, or both.
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