Quick Guide to Government Grants for Students

Understanding the many ways to get financial aid for college can make anyone’s head spin.

It’s too complicated of a topic to tackle in one article, but we thought we’d bring you the basics—so you at least have a good place to start when considering your options. This is all about grants.

Below are the different types of federal grants. Unlike loans, grants do not have to be paid back. According to the U.S. Department of Education, here’s a list of the grants that are now available.

Federal Pell Grants
The most need-based of the student aid programs, this program provides grant aid to low- and middle-income undergraduate students. Awards vary depending on the cost of attendance and financial circumstances of students and their families.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
Participating schools award FSEOG to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need, based on the availability of funds.

Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG)
Pell Grant eligible students who have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study may be eligible for ACG for first and second-year undergraduate studies.

National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (National SMART)
This grant may be available, for the third, fourth and fifth years of undergraduate study, to Pell-eligible students majoring in physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering or in a foreign language determined critical to national security.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants (TEACH)
This program provides grant assistance to students who are completing or who plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching. In exchange for the grant, a student must sign an Agreement to serve as a full-time teacher under certain specific conditions.

Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) and Special LEAP (SLEAP) Grants
These formula-based programs make federal funds available to states to assist them in providing student assistance programs for individuals with substantial financial need.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
A student who is not eligible for a Pell Grant may be eligible to receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. Their parent or guardian must have been a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and died as a result of service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.

Institutional Grants (a.k.a Merit Awards)
There are other grants in addition to ours. 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 grants come with special privileges or obligations. You’ll want to find out about the types of grants awarded by each college you are considering.

For more information on federal grants, connect to the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Aid Portal.

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When it comes to bringing our readers the most relevant info out there, I aim to be head of the class. Some say I have my Master’s in serving up tips you use, topics you want to view and facts you never knew. I’ve been a researcher/writer for almost 15 years, and I’m crazy about everything college. From mascots to midterms, I’m obsessed with reporting on all aspects of college life in today’s world—so parents can better connect with their college kids.

One thought on “Quick Guide to Government Grants for Students

  1. FYI – there is some misinformation here. The AGC and SMART grants are no longer funded as of the 2011-2012 award year and are therefore not available to students at this time.

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