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Federal Grants and Scholarships – Key Facts and Information

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Among choosing student loans, a student also needs to take a look at the federal grants and scholarships that are available for the student also. The main goal for a college student is to find a way to pay for their college education at the cheapest and quickest way while still obtaining the degree they seek.

With a world that is in a recession and the economic shutdown only getting bigger, the more students are finding that federal grants as well as scholarships are the cheapest route to go to pay for their college education.

For many students, the only way to get our economy back in tip top shape, is to enroll in some kind of college or university and receive a degree where hopefully they can find a job and help the economy with the increase of employment.

The U.S. government provides many educational grants for students that want to go to college. This means free money for students to go to college.

College grants are awarded given to student by both the state and federal governments. Grants are one of the favorite methods that students choose when it comes to financial aid. Most of these awards do not have to be paid back.

When a student decides to attend college, this should be one of the first strategies a student should try when financing their college education. This will also help the student in deciding if they will have to pursue a student loan to pay for their college education.

College grants are awarded based on financial need, the student’s eligibility, and the funds that are available by the government. Therefore, most grants are distributed on a first come first serve basis. These types of grants can not only pay for the student’s college tuition but other related college expenses as well.  These types of government education grants are available to both graduate and undergraduate students.

It is said that in the 2009-2010 the government awarded a total of $26,265,147,289 in student college grants. The average grants awarded per student per year was $2,278 with a maximum grant awarded at $5,350 per student. This meaning that it definitely a good idea for a student to check into school grants when choosing to attend a college or university.

There are several different types of grants a student can apply for. The top education grant program is the federal Pell grant. A federal Pell grant is also the foundation for financial aid. The Pell grant was formally called the Basic Education Opportunity Grant. This is your first funding option when it comes to needing college financial help.

There are other types of financial aids and other grants that also supplement this grant. With a Pell grant, like many other grants, it does not have to paid back. The Pell grant program carries the most money and will be the first grant considered when you submit your FAFSA application.

The Pell grant was designed specifically for low income students who could not afford to pay the expenses of college and has since been the top grant provided for low income students who wish to further their education and attend college. The government felt that it was not right for a student to not be able to attend college just because of their financial status.

The average Pell grant awarded in the 2009-2010 school year was $3,611 per student. However, President Barrack Obama has proposed to increase the grant budget. In the new proposal, this would raise the maximum Pell Grant award by more than $200. This will increase the total amount per student to now $5,550 for the 2010-2011 school year.

If this proposal does go into effect, this will raise the number of students eligible to 260,000 for the Pell Grant Program. The award amount for this particular grant is determined on a few factors.

First and foremost they will look at the students expected family contribution (how much money the family or student will be able to contribute towards college expenses), as well as the cost of attendance, the student’s enrollment status, and whether or not the student attends for a full year or less.

Most commonly when a student is awarded a Pell Grant, the awarded money is disbursed directly to the college, institution, or university that the student will be enrolled.

Depending on the amount of the course of study as well as the cost of the student’s books and any other college fees, the student sometimes has a little bit of spare cash left over to go toward other student expenses, such as housing expenses or other needs the student might have. However, most of the time the whole amount goes toward and is fairly equal to the amount of the course the student decides to dedicate themselves to.

This is a great grant that students need to check in to and that can be a great way for student’s to pay for their college education.

Another type of grant a student can check in to is the TEACH Grant. The TEACH grant, also known as the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant program is a brand new grant for students that want to become teachers. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act created this program to find more teachers. However, to become eligible for this grant, the student has to agree to teach after they graduate.

In this particular category, the average award is $2,941 per student per academic year and the TEACH Grant also provides funding up to $4,000 per year per student to the applicants who want to teach in a public or private elementary, or secondary school with one important condition. This condition being that the school has to server students from low income families.

For students who graduate but do not complete the required teaching services will have to pay off the grant as the grant will now turn into a unsubsidized loan. This is where interest will have to be paid from the date that the TEACH grant was disbursed to the student or college that the student is enrolled in.  For college students that want to receive this particular grant, the student will need to agree to serve as full time teachers.

There are specific requirements for the student to be eligible for this particular grant. First and foremost, the student will still have to fill out a FAFSA form even though they do not require it in order to prove your financial need. The student will have to have a status as a U.S. citizen.

The student will also have to enroll themselves in any part of the higher education process, given that the student has an appropriate school that works with the TEACH program. The student will also have to take a course of study that will lean them to the classes needed to obtain their teaching degree. Provided that the student preferred the field of teaching, the student has to take courses that will facilitate the student’s ability to educate there.

The student will also need to maintain a GPA of 3.25 or higher, or otherwise meet the requirements that are given to the student by the school in order to keep in good standing. The student will also have to get their TEACH Grant agreement to Serve signed before the student will be eligible for the TEACH grant program.

The student will have to sign their TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve each year that the student receives the grant. In the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve, the student can find the conditions that the student will have to meet in order to get the grant, as well as what the student will need to qualify for teaching services. This can include saying that the student recognizes the consent to having the TEACH grant switched to an unsubsidized loan in the event that the student does not obtain a teaching job in the right time period.

The student will need to be teaching for 4 academic years and it has to be performed within the 8 calendar years of the graduation date. However, student’s that wish to apply for this grant do not have to show financial need in order to be eligible for this program.

The student can also receive a TEACH grant for such high need fields such as English Language Acquisition, Foreign Language, Reading Specialist, Special Education, Mathematics, Bilingual Education, and many other fields of study that have shortages of qualified teachers in the nation when the student gets their grant.

If the student happens to be working in a low income school, the student will know if it is listed in the Annual Directory of Designated Low Income Schools for Teacher Cncellation Benefits created by the Department of Education. You can find this directory at tcll.ed.gov for a complete directory of such schools.

This is a great grant for student’s that are interested in going into the teaching field, and a great way to get their college education paid for through this unique grant.

Another grant that is available to students seeking grants to pay for college is the National SMART Grant. The National Smart Grant is also known as the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant. The National SMART grant was established by the Higher Education Reconciliation Act as a main program to meet the growing need for math and science instruction.  SMART grants are available during the third and fourth year of undergraduate study only.

The purpose of the program was to support students majoring in the fields of mathematics, engineering, computer, science, physics, technology, life, critical foreign language, or non major single liberal arts programs. National SMART grants are only available as the supplement to the Pell grant.  An applicant must first receive the Pell grant first, before being able to receive money from the SMART grant.

The SMART grant program itself was initiated specifically in order to persuade and motivate more students to take degree programs that were deemed to be in high demand.

In order to apply for a SMART grant award the student’s first task will be to fill out and submit their FAFSA. From the information provided by the student on this form, the colleges will identify those students most likely to qualify for an award based on a number of contributing factors, such as their eligibility for a Pell grant award, their chosen program of study and their grade point average.

The SMART grant program itself does not require the student to make a separate application. The grant funds are then sent directly to the student’s college by the Department of Education. The college will then allocate the funds directly to the student in question.

The maximum award for this particular grant is $4,000 in academic years three and four. Applicants must meet Pell grant eligibility requirements in addition to a high GPA score of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

This is a grant that definitely should be looked in to, especially for those students that are in their 3rd and 4th year of college and for those having trouble finding the funds to pay for their remaining college years.

Another type of grant that is available for students is the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG). The ACG grant was established by the Higher Education Reconciliation Act that carries the role of a supplement grant to the Pell grant.  This is like a sister grant to the National SMART grant. Academic Competitiveness Grants are available to students for their first and second academic years of college.

Later on the students can use the SMART grants for their third and fourth years of college, making the two grants work together to pay for the complete degree for the student. This is a fairly new program that will help applicants who take challenging high school courses and for those who pursue challenging college majors.  Like the SMART grant program students will have to first apply for the federal Pell grant, before the student will be eligible for the Academic Competitiveness Grant.

Around $790 million has been designated to the program in the academic years of 2006-2007 and this program will have 4.5 billion over the next few years. The maximum award for this particular grant is $4,000 and in 2009 the average award per student per year was $787.

In order for the student to be eligible for this particular grant, the student must meet the rigorous secondary school program of study requirements. However, not all students who receive federal Pell grants are eligible for the ACG grant.

Not all states offer the ACG grant program, so you will have to check with the student’s college to see if this particular grant is available for the student. In order for the student to be eligible for the Academic Competitiveness Grant, applicants will need to be full time students, U.S. citizens, and should also meet all eligibility terms and conditions for the Federal Pell grant.

This is another great grant that student’s should check into when applying for grants to further their education.

Another type of grant available for students is the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant.  This grant is also known as the FSEOG. This is a federal financial aid program made for students with exceptional financial need.  Like most grants, this grant does not have to paid back as long as the student remains eligible.

This particular grant works on financial need basis, so the grant is presented to students on a first come first serve basis. If the student is a student who is a Pell grant recipient with the lowest expected family contribution, the student will then be considered first for this particular grant program.

The maximum award for this grant is $4,000 and in the year of 2009 the average award per student in one academic year was $787. Funding for this grant is very limited and this particular grant is designed for undergraduate students only.

The amounts for the grants usually depend on the time of the year that the grant was applied for, and the financial needs of the student and the college where the student will be attending. This particular grant looks into all of the factors before the student will be awarded with the grant money. The student will need to submit a form as well as documents that are necessary to prove the financial status of the student.

Different colleges and institutions set different deadlines for the submissions of the grant application. So this means that it is very important that you apply as soon as possible because the FSEOG usually gets used up later in the year and once this happens, the student will have no other choice but to apply for the grant the following year.

Once the student has been awarded the grant it is very important that the student maintain a good record while enrolled in college.  This has to be maintained for a minimum of six credits per academic year for the student.  However, this can be an easy task for a student that focuses on their studies.

So the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant is a great grant to look into when applying for grants for college, especially if the student falls into the lower income family bracket.

There is a grant provided by the federal government that also gives the student an option to participate in a work-study program.  This is another program set up for students to be able to pay for their college tuition and other student expenses.

The federal work-study program provides jobs for both undergraduate and graduate students who need financial need. This program can help you earn money to pay for the student’s college expenses by working on or off campus by performing community service work.

Every college has a work-study program that is available for students that offers a wide variety of on and off campus jobs. This means that any student that is in financial need and that applies for the work-study program is automatically guaranteed a job.

These types of jobs can not only help you pay for the student’s college expenses, but they can also provide the student with valuable work-related experience that will prepare the student in their future career choice.

As with all grants, the student will have to fill out a FAFSA and the student has to be eligible for financial aid.  This in itself makes the student eligible for the federal work-study program. Not every student will receive the same amount of work-study financial aid.

The grant amount is determined by the student’s level of financial need and how much of the work-study program money the student’s college has to distribute. The student will earn at least minimum wage for their state, but the student might also make more depending on work performance, the student’s previous work experience, and if the student’s college has extra money.

This work-study program is available for both graduate and undergraduate students. Undergraduate students are paid by the hour and graduate students will get paid either by the hour or by the salary.  Most commonly colleges and universities will pay their students once a month and the student is paid directly with a check.

The student can request for the check to be sent to their financial aid office to be put towards the student’s tuition, or the student can have it automatically deposited into their student’s checking account.  The student can’t exceed any of their work hours.  This means that the student can’t earn any more money than what their federal work study program grant is, so the student’s employers have to make sure that they schedule the student’s work schedule properly.

If the student decides to work on campus then the student will be working for the college or university, most commonly at the cafeteria, bookstore, or in a residence hall.  If the student decides to work off campus from their college or university then the student is usually employed by a public or non-profit organization that is working along- side with the student’s college or university.

If the student does work off campus and their place of employment is a considerable distance from the campus and the student is driving, you will want to make sure that the student has auto insurance.  This is also a part of the criteria for the student to be a part of the off campus work-study program.

The federal work-study program is a great opportunity for the student’s.  The student’s not only get paid, but they all have the opportunity to interact with other fellow students and the student gains work experience in the process while gaining a valuable asset for future employers.

The work-study program is a great grant to look into to help dramatically with a student’s college tuition as well as any other student needs.  This program is a program that definitely needs to be looked into by every college student when it comes to grants and paying for their own college tuition and college expenses.

For students that are basing their studies in the military field there is a program available also to pay for their college education.  This particular program is the Montgomery GI Bill, otherwise known as the MGIB.  This is a program that active duty military personnel enroll in to help pay for their education once they are no longer in the service.

The Air Force Montgomery GI Bill is managed by the Veteran’s Administration once a military member separated from their service.  This particular program is governed by the laws that are passed in congress and are now available to all military members that meet the specific requirements.

The following requirements have to be met before the student will receive the grant:  The student should first have time served in the Air Force, the student must also have entered active duty after June 1985 and the student should have served in active duty for at least 3 years.

If the student’s initial enlistment was for only 2 years then there are provisions that the student can qualify for as well.  However, there are also qualifiers for military members that were on active duty before June 1985 also, so they don’t need to count themselves out.

For the first 12 months a student is in active duty, an Air Force member must contribute $100 a month to be able to qualify for the MGIB.  This brings a total of $1200 and qualifies them for this Veteran’s program.  However, for some category qualifications, a military member is allowed to make a lump sum contribution for this amount, but this must be made while still on active duty.

An Air Force member has a certain amount of time to use their benefit.  The member has 10 years, after an honorable discharge, to use this benefit.  This however, can change and can be waived in certain cases.

Once the Air Force member veteran qualifies, then they have the option to apply for their benefits.  The member will have to visit the Veteran’s Administration website and there the member can go through the walk through of the complete application process.  They also can help the member with any other questions they might have about the grant.

The Air Force Montgomery GI Bill covers all education expenses for all qualified training programs.  This can include most 2 and 4 year colleges.  This also applies for universities, as well as vocational schools and other correspondence courses.  There is 36 months of qualified educational assistance that is available to the member.  This is a great grant for any member of the Air Force for their continuing education in college.

Keep in mind that when applying for federal grants and scholarships, the difference between merit- based and need- based federal grants.

Need-based federal grants are always based upon the financial need of a student.  So if the student is a part of a low income family then the need-based federal grants and scholarships would be the proper grants to apply for.

Remember that need-based grants are based solely on the family contribution and other minor requirements.  To apply for need-based federal grants the student will have to show proof that they are financially not able to pay for their college tuition and other college expenses.

Need-based grants have become very popular due to the economic problems that we have today and have become much easier to obtain.  The one thing the student will always want to keep in mind when applying for need-based grants is they are set on a first come first serve basis.

This means the quicker the student applies for their grants, the more of a chance the student has at getting the grant.  Remember that the government has a certain amount set aside for grants and they will not exceed this amount.  So make sure the student stays punctual when applying for these particular grants.

Merit-based grants can provide a student with the funds for their college tuition and other college expenses solely based on the student’s academic performance, and also sometimes the combination of both academic and financial need.

However, merit-based grants provide free college funds to students.  State grants are however the most common types of merit-based grants.  These types of grants award the student’s that maintain certain GPA’s as well as the student’s income level.  Some merit-based grants also have particular requirements regarding what programs of studies the student is enrolled in.  Whether it be need-based or merit-based grants, grants are something that every student should check out.

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