The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important part of financing your college education. It is a 5-page, tax-like document you must fill out so the federal government can give you financial assistance for school. You must complete and submit this form every year for most grants, scholarships and/or loans.
Some important facts:
1. The federal FAFSA deadline is June 30 every year.
2. State deadlines vary. They may be earlier than June 30.
3. You cannot receive any federal financial aid without this application.
It’s important to complete and file it as soon as possible, as the sooner your information is in the system, the sooner you know when and how much money you have for college. Then you can make a plan to pay for the rest.
You can learn more about what type of grants and loans available on this website. Good luck on your search!
Grants can be acquired through the federal or state government. Therefore you need to fill out a FAFSA for the federal grants and find the requirements for your state grants. There are two basic grant types; need-based and merit-based, as well as options for those wanting to study abroad.
Merit-based grants fall into the Federal Financial Aid category, therefore you must fill out a FAFSA in order to apply and be eligible for one. Most need-based grants are based on the financial need of the student and/or family in paying for educational costs.
Pell Grant: Need-based grants to low-income students attending undergraduate. Some post-baccalaureate grants are available and used as accepted payments at 5,400 participating postsecondary universities. Grant are based on student's expected family contribution, the cost of attendance, the student's enrollment status, and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: Another need-based grant to low-income undergraduate students. Financial aid officers at participating universities determine the amount for the enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) student. Priority to the lowest expected family contributions and those who are also Federal Pell Grant recipients.
Merit-based programs are based on academics and sometimes financial need. most of them are state-based grants, based on GPA and/or income levels. Many require a FAFSA form, and you will need to fill out their separate applications. These grants can be found on your state’s government website.
Academic Competitiveness Grant: A merit-based grant providing $750 for the first year of study and $1,300 for the second year. It is available for students who are a Federal Pell Grant recipient, be a first or second-year undergraduate student, have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study and have at least a 3.0 GPA if in their second year.
National SMART Grant: The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant is for junior and seniors in undergraduate study, who major in physical, life, computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering or a critical foreign language program. The student must also have a 3.0 GPA in their major classes, as well as being eligible for the Pell Grant award.
Federal Study Abroad Grants
Maybe your dream is to study Renaissance art in Italy, or learn hands-on in an archeological dig in Africa, but you simply don’t have the money for it. The good news is that there may opportunities to pay for you cultural education. The Federal government offers two grants to make your dreams a reality.
David L. Boren Undergraduate Program for Study Abroad: The program is part of the National Security Education Program, so if your undergrad studies include learning culture and language for national security, this is for you.
Benjamin A. Gilman Award: The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural affairs give one student each year, out of Pell Grant recipients, assistance in studying abroad.
Most everyone feels like a minority in their own way; you’re not always the athlete, scholastic or cheerleader. The good news is that minority grants reach out to everyone, not just because you’re a different ethnicity or gender.
Disabilities include physical difficulties, like muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis, and learning difficulties, like autism or ADD.
Many careers have been traditionally male-oriented (i.e. engineering), so many grants help women trying to enter these fields by assisting in paying for their education. You can find federal and state grants, or look at organizations and foundations targeting women.
Ethnic grants are available to give an equal footing to everyone in order to create a more diversified educational and professional arena. You can find these grants on most federal and state government sites. Also look for minority foundations; Bureau of Indian Affairs, United Negro College Fun, and others can help you make college more affordable.
Most athletes in college are recruited for the sports team with a lucrative scholarship plan, so athletic grants are more for students who are studying in the field than playing on it. Although there are a few sports that don’t get school backing as much as others, and like to offer some little extra incentive to play.
National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) provides assistance for students researching strength and conditioning. There are three available:
1. GNC Nutritional Research Grant for those in nutrition-based research, and pays $2,500.00.
2. Master's Research Grant is worth up to $2,500.00
3. Doctoral Research Grant provides funding up to the $5,000.00 level.
You can apply if you submit the following forms:
• application form
• a proposal
• time schedule
• official transcript
• Human Subject Consent Form*
*Documents saying you have received approval from the institutional review board. In the Graduate Research Grants, the faculty co-investigator's vitae is required.
United States Tennis Association Multicultural Grants Program
The Okechi Womeodu Scholar Athlete Grant receive $5,000. High school Junior tennis players who rank in the top 100 on a national basis are eligible to apply if they have s 3.0 GPA.
The United States Bowling Congress Athletic Grant Program