College grants are forms of financial aid given to students with the purpose of paying for their college expenses partially or in total. Unlike scholarships, which usually require that students maintain a specific academic status to keep their funding, grants are issued to students based on financial need or other special circumstances. Also, they don't have to be repaid like student loans. There are several types of college grants available to students based on a wide variety of circumstances. Let's look at the most common types of grants issued for college.
Federal College Grants
The most common types of college grants available to students come from the Federal government. Here is a breakdown of federal grants available:
Pell Grant – The Pell Grant is considered the foundation of federal financial aid and is awarded to part-time or full-time undergraduate students with proven financial need who don't hold a bachelor's or professional degree. For the 2010-11 school year, the maximum amount awarded was $5,500; however, this amount could change annually.
TEACH Grant – The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant was created through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 and offers $4,000 to students who intend to teach in public or private elementary or secondary schools that serve students from low-income families.
FSEOG Grant – The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) offers between $100 and $4,000 a year to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. It is usually given first to Pell Grant recipients with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFCs).
ACG – The Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) was created in 2006 and is similar to a scholarship in that it awards $750 (freshman) or $1,300 (sophomore) to students with at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale by the end of their first year of academic study (for sophomores). Students must also be Pell Grant recipients.
National SMART Grant – The National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant offers up to $4,000 to third- and fourth-year undergraduates who are eligible for the Pell Grant and earn a 3.0 while majoring in physical, life or computer sciences, technology, mathematics, a critical foreign language or other non-major single liberal arts programs. These grants are given to students at the discretion of a specific institution of higher learning and are applied for by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Student Loan Options
If a College Grant is not available for you, you may wish to read more about Student Loans in our college financial aid section:
- Bad Credit Student Loans
- No Credit Check Student Loans
- Student Loan Consolidation
- Private Student Loans
Private and Institution College Grants
In addition to federal college grants are private and institution grants awarded by private organizations or colleges. Private school grants are typically awarded by unions, nonprofit organizations, clubs, companies and businesses. Unlike federal grants, private grants must be applied for with each distributor and distribution amounts could vary. Institution Grants are offered by colleges and universities to help make up the difference between college costs and what a family is expected to contribute through loans, income, savings and student earnings. Merit awards are also considered institution grants, but are usually based on academic achievement.
College Grants for Minorities
Grants for minorities are usually categorized as ethnic and non-ethnic. Ethnic grants are designed for those with ethnic challenges. Some include the Gilbert Rios Memorial Award, National Leadership Development Grants and Osage Higher Education Grant. Non-ethnic grants on the other hand could include those for students with disabilities (physical or learning) as well as women. Some include the Bubel/Aiken Foundation Grant, Jeannette Rankin Foundation Women's Education Fund and American Foundation for the Blind Helen Keller Fund.
College Grants for Military
There are a number of grants available for those veterans of the United States Armed Forces and their children. Some of these grants include the Tuition Assistance for Children of POW/MIAs, Devry/Keller Military Service Grant and Child of Disabled Veteran Grant or Purple Heart Recipient Grant. Also, students may be able to take advantage of the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, which is offered by the Federal government for those who are eligible for a Pell Grant and have one or both parents who served as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and died as a result of service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001. The award amount is equal to the maximum amount awarded for a Pell Grant. The options available for students who want to fund college without student loans are plentiful. So take time to explore what's out there to see what you may work for you.