GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS
What is a grant?
A grant is money that does not need to be repaid. It is generally given to students with the greatest financial need.
The federal government gives out two major grants: the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). You need to fill out the FAFSA to be eligible for these grants.
The Pell Grant is the most common grant distributed by the federal government. It is given to students with great financial need. Students can receive up to $4,050 a semester, but they must complete a FAFSA each year to be considered. The Pell Grant can be used for both credit and noncredit courses but you must make satisfactory progress towards a degree in order to continue receiving the Pell Grant. WARNING: If you use your Pell Grant award for noncredit courses, you are not making satisfactory progress towards a degree.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is also distributed by the federal government but is only given to students with the greatest financial need. Eligible students can receive up to $4,000 a semester, but like the Pell Grant, a FAFSA needs to be submitted each year. Your college may also give out special grants, but in most cases, your eligibility for the grant will be determined by the FAFSA.
Tips for Applying for Grants
- Do your income taxes as soon as you have all of the paperwork. You’ll need this information to complete the FAFSA.
- Submit your FAFSA in early February. The FAFSA deadline is June 30 for the next school year. You might qualify for more financial aid if you submit your FAFSA sooner rather than later.
If you are from another country:
Even if you are not eligible for federal student aid, complete and submit your FAFSA. You may be eligible for state or school financial aid, and some schools use the FAFSA information when they make those decisions. Visit our section on FAFSA for more information.
What is a scholarship?
A scholarship is similar to a grant in that it does not need to be repaid. Scholarships, however, are not necessarily given out based on financial need.
“General scholarships” are open to everyone who is eligible, but many scholarships are not general scholarships. Some scholarships are awarded to students based on academic ability. Other scholarships are tied to very specific attributes like race, athletic ability, or chosen profession.
You may qualify for a scholarship from your college. You can find out about your college’s scholarships by looking in the course catalog. In general, students need to apply directly to a school, foundation or private company to compete for a scholarship. The application process differs for each scholarship but usually it involves filling out an application form, writing an essay, and getting a reference. Make sure you fill out the FAFSA as well because some of these scholarships may be determined in part by financial need.
There are several places to look for scholarships on the internet. The following websites are the most credible and reliable resources for finding scholarships. For most of these websites you will have to provide personal information such as your name, email address, and interests. This information will allow the search engine to find scholarships that meet your needs.
Tips for Applying for Scholarships
- Write down usernames and passwords for each scholarship search website and keep this information in safe place.
- Write down the names of the scholarships that interest you.
- Write down the deadlines for each scholarship and the materials you need to submit.
If you are incarcerated or if you are an ex-offender:
Even if you had problems when you tried to get a job in the past, most people with criminal history records are still eligible for financial aid and can get into college. Many financial aid applications do not ask for information about your criminal history. If they do ask, you do not need to report convictions that were removed from your record. For more information on removing convictions from your record, see the section of this website on Occupational Exploration. For important financial aid information, go to the FAFSA section of this website.