Grants are an important source of financial aid for students who wish to earn a college degree. Federal and state governments fund college education grants based on factors such as economic need, academic requirements, and student status. Most grants are intended for low to middle income students, with academic achievement being a secondary consideration.
In the United States, students who want to apply for college education grants must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application gives you a Student Aid Report (SAR), which is the documentation that states your financial need and grant eligibility. The number on your SAR that is most important is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is the amount the government has determined you and your parents should be able to contribute towards your educational expenses.
One of the most common college education grants is the Pell Grant. The Pell Grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is used to provide financially needy undergraduate students with the money to go to school. The amount you receive depends on federal budget restrictions, your financial need, and whether or not you're considered a full or part time student. Students with family incomes of $40,000 U.S. Dollars (USD) or less make up the majority of Pell Grant recipients.
Another very popular grant is the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). This grant is given to students with the greatest need and is intended as additional financial aid for Pell Grant recipients. It is usually given to the students whose EFC is expected to be $0.
Students majoring in fields that are predicted to be in high demand have extra opportunities for college education grants. The National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant) gives money to college juniors and seniors who are studying mathematics, engineering, technology, physical science, life science, computer science, or a foreign language considered important to national security. On a similar note, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant offers financial assistance for students who commit to serving as teachers at schools that serve low-income communities.
If you are not a United States citizen or you wish to attend a school outside the United States, policies for obtaining college education grants may vary. The best course of action in this case is to contact an admissions or financial aid counselor at the school you wish to attend. As education professionals, they are best equipped to offer the assistance you need to make your dream of higher education a reality.