Free money for college comes in the form of grants. Grants are wonderful ways to finance your college and school education. They have a huge advantage over loans, as the money need not be repaid. Grants make up to 40% of student aid. Grants can be received by students from variety of sources including private organizations, educational institutions, professional associations and state and federal governments.
Grants will be awarded, based on the student’s economic condition, his academic merit, ethnicity, religious affiliations or special interests/hobbies.
Free money for college education is of four types:
Federal Pell Grants: Pell grants form a part of the largest grants program, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. These grants are handed out, based solely on the need of the student. The choice of the student’s college determines the student’s need. These grants have to be approved under government guidelines. A fixed amount of Pell money is received by selected eligible colleges. As the money received by college is fixed, it is advisable to apply early, as the money is doled out on first come- first serve basis. Students receiving free money for college under Pell grant can also be eligible for Academic competitiveness Grant & National SMART Grant.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants: These grants are reserved for students hailing from economically backward classes. These grants support post-secondary education. Free money for college varies from $100 to $4000. Students can apply through their college financial aid offices.
State sponsored grants: Most states have their grants programs for their students, who are in need of free money, for pursuing their college education. Sometimes these grants are given by state, to encourage study in certain areas. For example, California encourages future teachers to teach in low-income areas, by assuming up to $19000 of their loans, particularly in subjects where there is a shortage. Ohio state grant programs aim at its low-income group residents. If your family income is below $75000, then you are eligible for this grant. Details of the state grants can be found on the website of your respective state’s student-aid program and higher-education commission.
Institutional grants: Sometimes colleges handout grants to deserving students to supplement their aid package. This happens when state or federal financial aid is not enough. Also, colleges substitute loans by grants, to attract desirable candidates. In such cases, one can’t apply for a grant, but can improve his prospects by targeting schools/colleges, where he will be desirable, rather than trying for an institution, where he has to contend many competitors.