Beyond the Books
Learn More About Grants and Scholarships
What is a grant?
A grant is a form of federal, state or institutional financial aid that does not need to be repaid. They're typically given to people who demonstrate financial need. There are five main federal grant programs that are available for eligible students pursuing a postsecondary education.
FEDERAL PELL GRANT
A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded usually only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. (In some cases, however, a student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Pell Grant.) Pell Grants are considered a foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added.
How much can I receive?
The maximum Pell Grant award is $5,350. The maximum can change each award year and depends on program funding. The amount you get will depend not only on your financial need, but also on your costs to attend school, your status as a full-time or parttime student, and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less. Note: The maximum award amount is given for any Pell Grant eligible student whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept.11, 2001. Criteria includes, you must be under 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time in college at the time of your parent's or guardian's death.
If I am eligible, how ill I get the Pell Grant money?
Your school can apply Pell Grant funds to your school costs, pay you directly (usually by check), or combine these methods. The school must tell you in writing how much your award will be and how and when you'll be paid. Schools must disburse funds at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter). Schools that do not use semesters, trimesters, or quarters must disburse funds at least twice per academic year.
FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT (FSEOG)
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest expected family contributions (EFCs) will be considered first for a FSEOG. Just like Pell Grants, the FSEOG does not have to be repaid, but not all colleges participate in the FSEOG Program. How much can I receive? You can receive between $100 and $4,000 a year, depending on when you apply, your financial need, the funding at the school you're attending, and the policies of the financial aid office at your school.
If I am eligible, how will I get the FSEOG money?
If you're eligible, your school will credit your account, pay you directly (usually by check), or combine these methods. Your school must pay you at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter). Schools that do not use semesters, trimesters, or quarters must disburse funds at least twice per academic year.
ACADEMIC COMPETITIVENESS GRANT (AC-GRANT)
The Academic Competitiveness Grant was made available for the first time for the 2006- 2007 school year for first year college students who graduated from high school after January 1, 2006, and for second year college students who graduated from high school after January 1, 2005. The Academic Competitiveness Grant award is in addition to the student's Pell Grant award. You must receive the Pell Grant to qualify for the AC-Grant.
How Much Can I Receive?
An Academic Competitiveness Grant will provide up to $750 for the first year of undergraduate study and up to $1,300 for the second year of undergraduate.
Eligible Students – An eligible student may receive an Academic Competitiveness Grant (AC Grant) of up to $750 for the first academic year of study and up to $1,300 for the second academic year of study. To be eligible for each academic year, a student must:
Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
Be a Federal Pell Grant recipient;
Be enrolled at least ½ time in an eligible grogram;
Be enrolled in the first or second academic year of his or her program of study at a two-year or four-year degree-granting institution;
Have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study;
If a first-year student, not have been previously enrolled in an undergraduate program;
If a second-year student, have at least a cumulative 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale for the first academic year.
Note: the amount of the AC Grant, when combined with a Pell Grant, may not exceed the student's cost of attendance.
-- Recognized rigorous secondary school programs of study for Academic Competitiveness Grant programs by year of graduation:
Go to http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/about/ac-smart/stateprograms. htmlfor more information.
TEACHER EDUCATION ASSISTANCE FOR COLLEGE & HIGHER EDUCATION - TEACH GRANT
Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the TEACH Grant Program that provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. The TEACH grant will be available for eligible students starting with the 2008-2009 school year.
How Much Can A Student Receive?
The TEACH grant will provide up to $4,000 each year, but if the student does not complete the required teaching service, the student will be required to repay the grants as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.
Eligible Students - To receive a TEACH Grant you must meet the following criteria:
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM), although you do not have to demonstrate financial need.
Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
Be enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate student in a postsecondary educational institution that has chosen to participate in the TEACH Grant Program.
Be enrolled in course work that is necessary to begin a career in teaching or plan to complete such course work. Such course work may include subject area
Meet certain academic achievement requirements
Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve
-- High-need fields are the specific areas listed in the Department of Education’s Annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing:
for more information
THE NATIONAL SCIENCE & MATHEMATICS ACCESS TO RETAIN TALENT GRANT
The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (also known as the SMART Grant, is available during the third and fourth years of undergraduate study to students enrolled at least ½ time who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant and who are majoring in physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, or engineering or in a foreign language determined critical to national security. The student must also have maintained a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0. The National SMART Grant award is in addition to the student's Pell Grant award.
How Much Can A Student Receive?
A National SMART Grant will provide up to $4,000 for each of the third and fourth years of undergraduate (special consideration is given to 5th year students in a 5-year program).
Eligible Students - To be eligible for each academic year, a student must:
Be a U.S. citizen;
Be a Federal Pell Grant recipient;
Be enrolled at least ½ time in an eligible degree program;
Be enrolled in a four-year degree-granting institution (5-year programs are given special consideration for student’s 5th year);
Major in physical, life or computer science, engineering, mathematics, technology, or a critical foreign language; and
Have at least a cumulative 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0.
-- Note that the amount of the SMART Grant, when combined with a Pell Grant, may not exceed the student's cost of attendance. In addition, if the number of eligible students is large enough that payment of the full grant amounts would exceed the program appropriation in any fiscal year, and then the amount of the grant to each eligible student may be ratably reduced.
for a list of eligible fields of study.
There are other grants in addition to the ones listed above. Colleges provide institutional grants to help make up the difference between college costs and what a family can be expected to contribute through income, savings, loans, and student earnings.
Other institutional grants, known as merit awards or merit scholarships, are awarded on the basis of academic achievement. Some merit awards are offered only to students whose families demonstrate financial need; others are awarded without regard to a family's finances.
Some grants come with special privileges or obligations. You can find out about the types of grants awarded by each college you are considering by visiting the college’s website or contacting the financial aid office.
What is a scholarship?
A scholarship is a grant-in-aid to a student by a college or foundation. These are not need-based funds. All outside scholarships are supposed to be reported to the college, but very often the college will use these funds against you by re-calculating your financial aid package and subtracting these funds from the package. If possible, get scholarship funds paid directly to you or your child and bypass reporting to the college. If scholarship monies are paid directly to the college, do not count on this as extra funds.
FEDERAL WORK STUDY
What is it?
Federal Work Study is considered a Campus-Based Aid Program because it is administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school. Not all schools participate in this program. Check with your school's financial aid office to find out if they participate in this program.
How much aid you receive from each of this program depends on your financial need, on the amount of other aid you receive, and on the availability of funds at your college or career school. Unlike the Federal Pell Grant Program, which provides funds to every eligible student, campus-based programs provide a certain amount of funds for each participating school to administer each year. When the money for a program is gone, no more awards can be made from that program for that year.
Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient's course of study.
Will I be paid the same as I would in any other job?
You'll be paid by the hour if you're an undergraduate. No FWS student may be paid by commission or fee. Your school must pay you directly (unless you direct otherwise) and at least monthly. Wages for the program must equal at least the current federal minimum wage but might be higher, depending on the type of work you do and the skills required. The amount you earn can't exceed your total FWS award. When assigning work hours, your employer or financial aid administrator will consider your award amount, your class schedule, and your academic progress.
What kinds of jobs are there in Federal Work-Study?
If you work on campus, you'll usually work for your school. If you work off campus, your employer will usually be a private nonprofit organization or a public agency, and the work performed must be in the public interest.
Your school might have agreements with private for-profit employers for Federal Work-Study jobs. This type of job must be relevant to your course of study (to the maximum extent possible). If you attend a career school, there might be further restrictions on the jobs you can be assigned.
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