Most federal grants for education are provided via a block grant process to the organizations and institutions that then go on to assign individual funding to deserving college students. So there is no need to consult Grants.gov or call your congressman to apply for one of these grants. In fact, students seeking federal assistance with their education expenses need only to fill out the FAFSA by the yearly deadline to be considered for most government grants and loans. This is that federal student aid application that every college and university in the United States uses to determine your financial need and to administer federal funding at each individual school. Filling out that application should only take you about fifteen minutes of your day and is required for each and every year you wish to attend school.
The Big Two Federal Grants for Education
By simply completing the FAFSA, you will then be considered for several types of federal grants for education. These are the Pell Grant and the FSEOG or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. If you’re looking for free federal money to attend school that you’ll never have to pay back, these are the grants you’re looking for. The Pell is expected to provide up to $5,775 during the upcoming 2015-2016 school year and you can use those grant funds to attend class for up to six years or twelve total semesters. This money can be used to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees and that’s almost $35,000 you can get to go to school and never have to pay a dime back. The FSEOG provides extra grant money and is usually awarded to students exhibiting the most extreme levels of financial need. If you are selected for the FSEOG, you will receive even more money for school on top of what you already get through the Pell grant. Again, the application process for both grants is handled by filling out the yearly FAFSA application.
Work-Study Jobs and How to Make Them Work for You
In addition to those two great sources of grants, the U.S. Department of Education funds other types of student aid programs with large block grant funding it receives from congress. You may want to look into a local work-study program available at your college or university and your eligibility for that will be determined by the FAFSA process. These allow students to work a part-time position around the university or with an area non-profit to earn an hourly rate of compensation that can be used for any type of college expense or to just buy yourself a sandwich. Work-study positions exchange your time for a weekly or monthly check and this also does not have to ever be paid back.
Student Loan Programs Offered by the Department of Education
Other federal grants for education fund two types of student loans. While they do have to be paid off later on, both Perkins and direct loans are offered to all incoming students by the government. I highly encourage you not to take on a massive student loan as some that do so become saddled with unmanageable amounts of debt for decades following their college graduation. But if the only way you are going to be able to attend college is by taking out a student loan and the career you intend to pursue will allow you to pay back that debt, then looking into federal student loans may be an option.
Other Federal Grants for Education and What They Fund
The federal government offers several other types of grants that do not need to be repaid that are intended to help with education. And in these two cases, you apply directly to the U.S. Department of Education. In other words, you cannot be considered for these other federal grants for education by simply filling out the FAFSA. Funding for student research is offered through Mary Switzer Research Fellowships but these funds are only used for the study of disability and rehabilitation. Several other types of grants pay for various trips to study abroad and they fall under the Fulbright-Hays umbrella. Bilateral project grants send educators including some graduate students overseas on short-term study trips and provide funding to attend seminars and conferences. Group project grants send collections of students, teachers and faculty on short-term trips to other countries for several reasons. Usually a group project grant is issued to allow a group to attend a seminar, work on curriculum development or enroll in an intensive language studies course not offered here in the United States.
Securing Local First Come First Serve Dollars
School specific grant programs often receive federal funding and are administered locally either by the school itself or by an education foundation operating within your area. The best place to look into these grant programs is your institution’s financial aid office as they vary from school to school. Begin that process as early as possible as school specific grants are usually handed out on a first come first serve basis. It is suggested that you apply as early as the beginning of January every year for local education grant funding. Check with your school to find out when the application process opens and apply for funding as soon as possible. The faculty of your financial aid office will point you in the right place if these local dollars are handled by an area non-profit but in many cases you can apply for this education grant funding right there at the school you plan to attend.
Regardless of what college or university you pick or what you decide to study, I hope you find the money that you will need to make a college degree a reality in your life. Let me know if this information has helped you along your way by leaving us a comment below and feel free to share your story. Attending school can be an exciting time and a rewarding experience. I wish you the best of luck in whatever path you choose to go down.