Here’s everything you need to know about applying for free grants
College education for several individuals has introduced numerous professional opportunities, but at the same time, achieving a degree can be quite tough. And this is primarily because the fees for professional and advanced studies have become expensive. Lack of personal funds can often put students in a tight spot and can even force them to drop out. In such situations, one can apply for free grants. These programs can help cover tuition and other miscellaneous expenses.
Before applying for free grants, here are some of the crucial aspects of it that you should be aware of:
What makes grants different from scholarships?
Often used interchangeably, grants and scholarships have only one aspect in common, i.e., both programs award money and don’t loan it, unlike banks. To apply for the best education funding alternatives, you must understand the fundamental differences between grants and scholarships.
- Sources of finance – Scholarships come from a variety of institutions such as government, colleges, commercial brands, co-operative associations, churches, etc. Grants, moreover, are mostly sponsored by universities, federal, and state agencies.
- Eligibility – Usually scholarships are presented based on academic or extracurricular merit. For instance, one scholarship program might invite student applications for individuals aspiring to study an information technology degree, whereas the other program might be one for students interested in music. In both these scenarios, their past accomplishments will be given a lot of value.
Moreover, grants address the student’s financial background first. So, secondary preference is given to their merit and achievements. It is also to be noted that for government-funded grants, one needs to the citizen of the country.
How to apply for free grants?
- Start by understanding your own academic profile, achievements, skills, career ambitions, etc. This will help you narrow down the best colleges or universities that fit with your expectations. It will also allow you with an insight into your college tuitions and funding options.
- You can then proceed further by identifying various sources of financial backing. Apart from federal or state agencies, consider independent fellowships and non-profit organizations as well.
- Create a screening process based on eligibility so that you could shortlist the most feasible alternatives. For instance, if you are a child of a deceased military veteran, then the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants (Federal Grant) can be a viable option for receiving some financial support.
- While you apply for free grants, ensure that you thoroughly proofread your applications as well as send all the required documents for assessment.
What are the different types of free grants available for college aspirants?
Apart from the federal and state assistance, there are several free grants available to support students belonging to distinctive backgrounds and talents.
- Distinctive talents/skills such as football, photography, basketball, painting, etc. Although, these might be hard to find, they could prove to be an excellent opportunity as such programs take your area of interest in consideration too.
- If you happen to be a female student, then there are women colleges such as Spelman, Barnard, Wellesley, Agnes Scott, etc. which facilitate grants.
- Some private agencies or associations can also offer grants for students studying a particular subject. For example, The Future Farmers of America provides funding to individuals invested in agricultural education and research.
Which grants does the federal government offer?
The Department of Education promotes four main types of federal grants to students pursuing degrees in universities, community colleges, or professional schools. To comprehend your financial aid options, here are the federal grants you can consider.
- Federal Pell Grants
- FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants)
- TEACH Grants (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education)
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
Each of these programs have some specific criteria to be fulfilled. For example, Pell Grants only considers applications from students pursuing undergraduate degrees. Similarly, TEACH grants is meant for individuals who are planning a career as an educator.