Thursday, January 5, 2012

Grant Money For College Education - 4 Flavors of Government Grants

Grant money comes in more than one flavor for your college education. I'll explain the four types of grant money and what that means for your college money search.
Federal Financial Aid Grants
Below I have written up a list of federal grants for you to apply to for help financing college.
1. FSEOG Money for College
The FSEOG program awards grants to undergraduate students that have exceptional need. Student who qualify for this one come from very limited means. Meaning not much money. Max award from this program tops out at $4000.
2. Pell Grants
The Pell grant program currently tops out at $4300 per year this school. Standard FSA eligibility applies. Typically, you need to have a family income below $45,000, and the majority goes to those with incomes under $20,000.
3. Academic Competitiveness Grant
The ACG started in 2006 and only applies to first and second year undergrads. Look at the SMART grant program for the last two years. The awards run up to $750 your first year and $1300 your second. To meet the criteria, you need a rigorous course of study in high school.
You should look up your state to see if you can qualify at the FSA website.
A new program called Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent also offers federal government aid. If you have a high tech major, you should apply. SMART applies to third and fourth year students only.
All of the above require that you submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (the FAFSA). Do yourself a favor and use the online FAFSA. The form will update automatically to tell you that you can answer the ACG questions, which is how you apply for this program. For the SMART program, call your financial aid office and ask for help applying.
Do it. You haven't much to lose, just a few minutes filling out the forms. And if you don't get enough in grants, try a Stafford or other student loan. They can help.
Last point to consider, your age. If you are 22, you either are now eligible to apply alone or soon will be, meaning you don't have to include your parents' income. When I got to that point, I immediately applied for a Pell and got it. Nice.

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