Everything You Need to Know About Grants
What are exactly are they and how you can make them work for you?
As a definition we’ll find that “grants are non-repayable funds or products disbursed or gifted by one party (grantmakers), often a government department, corporation, foundation or trust, to a recipient, often (but not always) a nonprofit entity, educational institution, business or an individual. In order to receive a grant, some form of “Grant Writing” often referred to as either a proposal or an application is required.”
Put in a simpler way, grants are money you receive from the federal government, state government, college, career school or nonprofit organization if you fulfill a few requirements. They are also called “gift aid” as they are free money you won’t have to pay back.
There are 2 types of grants:
- Need-based grants;
- Merit-based grants (scholarships).
Kinds of Federal Grants
To make it easier for you I’ll split them into categories. U.S. ED (Department of Education) offers a large range of federal grants to students attending 4-year colleges, communities or career schools.
- Federal Pell Grant
They are usually awarded to undergraduate students who don’t have a bachelor or professional degree. It doesn’t have to be repaid, except a few circumstances (you withdrew early from the program, you received other scholarships or grants or if your enrollment status changed so your eligibility for your grant reduced).
Amount: You can receive $2000 split in two parts (in fall and spring). Occasionally, you can receive an additional $1000 in the summer semester.
- FSEOG- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
This kind of grants is given directly from the financial aid office from each school. Check if your school participate at the program at its financial aid office. In order to get one, you should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. After that, your school or college will determine how much financial aid you need. It doesn’t have to be repaid.
Amount: Depending on the available funds at your school and on your financial need, you can receive between $100-$4000/year.
- TEACH Grats – Teacher Education Assistance for College or Higher Education
This program will give money to students who want to complete a course needed in the field of teaching. So if you plan to become a teacher, you should consider this option.
In order to receive it, you should sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve in which you will teach for at least 4 academic years within 8 years after completing, in an elementary or secondary school, educational service agency that teaches students with low income, or in a high-need field.
Amount: The sum to receive is $4000 (but under the laws of Budget Control Act of 2011, every amount given after Oct 1st 2017 is reduced by 6.9 percent, meaning you’ll receive $3,724).
Iraq and Afganistan Service Grants
The Iraq and Afganistan Program helps students receive money to pay their education as well. However, you should meet the following criteria in order to be eligible to receive it:
- If you are not eligible for the Federal Pell Grant due to your Expected Family Contribution.
- Your parent or guardian served the U.S. Army and died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afganistan.
- You were under 24 yo when this happened.
Amount: You will be paid $5,920 (of which 6.9 percent are taxed by the Budget Control act of 2011) so you will remain with a total of $5,511.52.
There are thousands of available scholarships and it’s not hard to find one that will suit you the best.
You can learn more information about scholarships directly from:
- Your school or college’s financial aid office;
- A high school or TRIO conselour;
- Your or your parents’ employer;
- Different foundations, local businesses or civic groups;
- Ethnicity-based organizations;
- Your library’s reference section
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Free scholarship search tool.
In order to avoid scams, always remember that you don’t have to pay for a scholarship.
Other Kinds Of Grants
These are the most used grants. But these are available in absolutely any domain such as:
You can also receive grants when opening a business. However, there are disadvantages too:
- You could be limited by the geographic location. Many states have grants for projects only in that state, so if you are from another one wanting to fund your company through that financial aid, you’re out of luck.
- It might take a lot of effort and time to apply for it. Private grants are usually less consuming than federal funding ones that need an in-depth examination of the proposal and submission process.
- Some fundings require a lot of paperwork, and this might take a lot of extra hours meaning you’ll pay a person to do it for your company. Measuring the exact data and money you’ll receive vs. the money you’ll lose in the process is essential.
If you need details or tools to apply for any of the grants these next sites might come handy to you.
- https://www.grants.gov/– This is a very useful site where you’ll find what programs are available for you and how to apply for them. It’s the place with the most resources for grant seekers.
- https://fafsa.ed.gov/– Here is where you find solutions from the Federal Student Aid. Check it for student financial assistance programs that provide grants, loans and work-study funds to students attending college or career school.
- https://www.va.gov/– This site is incredibly rich in information about financial aid, grants and answers questions on repaying loans, loan forgiveness, and loan servicers.
- https://www.ed.gov/– All veterans and their family should check this site as it provides a lot of useful information. Here they will find prescription refills, veterans affairs forms, health care benefits, education resources, and other important details.
In conclusion, grants are here to serve us. To help us get our education done, to help us finance our business or buy our house. They are opportunities for people like me and you who want to improve and grow every day.