As the attainment of advanced degrees becomes an increasingly pivotal factor for employment in the United States, students who use scholarships and grants can leverage their educational career so that their paths beyond college comes with as little debt as possible.
According to the Department of Education, higher education will be necessary for more than 60% of jobs by 2018. The proliferation of educational and career opportunities has risen steadily in light of this, and today there are approximately 40% more Americans with bachelor's degrees than there were during 1990*.
Just as important as an advanced degree is to a student's future, so is their knowledge in investing and financing their education. Grants are one of the best ways a student can pay for tuition and academic expenses. It's considerably helpful to understand the eligibility criteria for different types of grants, so that you only apply to the most relevant ones. Here are some the most widely used grants:
Federal Pell Grant
Depending on a student's need, the cost of attendance, and their status as a full-time or part-time student, Federal Pell Grants are offered at schools that participate in the Title IV aid program. The maximum Pell Grant award is $5,550. Independent students and graduate students often are awarded Pell Grants. There's nothing you need to do to apply for a Pell Grant except fill out your FAFSA.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Participating schools offer the FSEOG program for students with financial need. Students who are receiving Pell Grants and have the most need will be the first to receive FSEOGs. FSEOG awards range from $100 to $4,000. Schools only have a limited amount of FSEOG awards to give - meaning, they're first come, first served. Submitting your FAFSA as early as possible is one way to ensure you are considered for an FSEOG grant.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
With a maximum reward of $4,000, the TEACH Grant is offered to students who are completing or plan to complete coursework necessary to start a teaching career. Among the requirements, a student will agree to teach in a high-need field at a school serving low-income families for a minimum of four academic years, within eight years of receiving the degree for which the grant was awarded for.
State-sponsored and State-based Grants
Depending on the school or state, students can become eligible for state-sponsored and state-based grants. Some of the grants are achievement-based, while others can be awarded purely on background. Our scholarship database contains many scholarship and grant opportunities in each state offered by local organizations and state education departments.
In order to apply for federally funded grants, students must fill out the FAFSA application. For free help with your financial aid application, check out this step-by-step FAFSA guide.
* Sources: College Completion Tool Kit
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