What are the Different Government Student Grants?

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  • Written By: Dana Hinders
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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If you are a United States citizen in search of a way to pay for higher education expenses, keep in mind that there are many government student grants available. Unlike student loans, grants are awarded on the basis of financial need. The money you receive does not have to be paid back as long as you fulfill the requirements of the program.

To apply for government student grants, the first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form requires information about your income, assets, and the school you wish to attend. Your parent or guardian's financial information will also be required, unless you are married, have a child, are of a certain age, or meet other criteria that will qualify you as an independent student.

The Pell Grant Program is the largest source of financial aid for needy students in the United States. These government student grants are considered the building block on which all other sources of financial aid are applied. Amounts offered vary each year depending upon the availability of federal funding, a school's enrollment cost, and whether or not the student is planning to attend school on a full-time basis.


If you are eligible for a Pell Grant, you may be able to receive an Academic Competitiveness Grant if you meet certain GPA requirements. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program also provides supplemental grant funding to Pell Grant recipients. This program is administered by the financial aid department at each participating college or university, giving priority to the neediest of the Pell Grant recipients.

To attract students to certain high-priority career areas, there are government student grants designated for recipients in specific college majors. The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grant program offers funds to students who are Pell Grant eligible and studying science, mathematics, technology, engineering, or a critical foreign language. If you are planning to be a teacher and willing to sign an agreement saying you'll spend at least four years in a school that serves students from low-income families, you may be able to receive funds through the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH) grant program.

If you are not a US citizen and are looking to attend college in your own country, the rules for awarding government student grants may be different. For example, Canadian citizens can apply for several Canadian government grants designed to assist with educational expenses. Students in Canadian colleges can apply for grants for low and middle income students, as well as students with disabilities and students with dependents. There are also special grant programs available to assist people who are attending college on a part-time basis.



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