What are the Best Tips for Getting Student Grants for College?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

One great way to partially or fully fund the cost of university attendance is to receive student grants for college. Grants are sums that do not have to be repaid and can be put toward tuition, living expenses, or the pursuit of specific educational project. There are many tips for getting student grants for college; some of the most important factors to consider include good research, careful proposal writing, and strong supporting materials.

The Pell Grant Program administers most financial aid for low-income students in the United States.
The Pell Grant Program administers most financial aid for low-income students in the United States.

One of the best sources of student grants for college is the state or national government. Many countries offer grant programs specifically for lower income students, or for those studying particular subjects. In the United States, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FASFA, is the only step necessary to apply for several national government grants, such as the Pell Grant. Though financial need is the primary qualifying factor for most government grants, some also may depend on the anticipated course of study. Filling out any government paperwork for national student aid can be the fastest and easiest way to get student grants for college, as well as eligibility information for student loans.

Goverment financial aid should be a top priority because they do not have to be repaid upon graduation.
Goverment financial aid should be a top priority because they do not have to be repaid upon graduation.

Good research skills are useful when identifying the best student grants for college. Internet grant searches, bookstores, and school counseling offices can be very helpful when it comes to finding grant opportunities. Students should also find out if the school they are planning to attend offers any school- or subject-specific grants, or if there are any endowed grants in the custody of the school. State and regional government educational offices can also be a good source of information on local government grants.

Once a list of possible grants is determined, it is important to gather application materials and make a calendar of submission dates. With many programs to choose from, it can be easy to miss out on grant opportunities by forgetting a due date. Submitting grant proposals early can also sometimes help an applicant's chances, since the submission readers may be less overwhelmed by tons of proposals early in the submission period. Be sure to read all submission instructions carefully, and to submit all materials together in an organized and fully proofread package. Grant organizations may be less disposed to seriously consider applications that look messy, have missing pieces of information, or are filled with mistakes.

The heart of winning grants is putting together a fantastic grant proposal. Proposals tell the grant organization why an applicant should receive the grant and how it will be put to use. The exact specifications for a proposal will vary by each organization, but in almost all cases, applicants should work hard to make the proposal personal, assertive, and convincing. Students should consider asking teachers or friends with writing and editing talent to read over proposals and make suggestions and corrections.

Some grant programs require supporting materials, such as transcripts, financial information, and letters of recommendation. Applicants should be sure to put in transcript requests several weeks before a grant application is due, as some schools may have a long processing period for records. Letters of recommendation should be from professionals in a good position to analyze the applicants skills, who can be trusted to provide letters that will be supportive and helpful.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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