The U.S. Department of Education (ED) offers a variety of federal grants to students attending four-year colleges or universities, community colleges, and career schools.
Grants (need to complete FAFSA)
- Perkins Loan Program
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Pell Grants
- Direct Loans
What is the FAFSA?
The Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to receiving federal aid.
All students interested in applying for federal student aid (grants, loans, or work-study) must complete the FAFSA.
Students can receive grants and financial aid through four sources: the federal government, state governments, educational institutions, and private companies.
Students are not required to repay grants; however, they must repay work-study funds after graduation. They also must start paying back loans upon graduation.
You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for any of these options. The FAFSA uses a “priority filing date,” which means an eligible student that completes the FAFSA by March 2nd will be considered for state and federal grants. If you are interested in private scholarships, you can complete the FAFSA anytime between January 1 and July 1 of the school year.
The Perkins Loan Grant is a federal grant that assists students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs.
This loan is administered by the college or career school where the student is enrolled, not by the Federal Government. The loan amount will vary depending on financial need and availability of funding at your college or career school. Your college or career school is required to pay the loan directly to you, the student. The school will determine how much they can offer you in Perkins Loan Grant money. This is subject to change each year depending on funding, so check with your college or career school for exact amounts. The Perkins Loan Grant can provide up to $5,500 per year in Perkins Loans Grant money. This loan has a five percent interest rate and the repayment period is ten years.
You do not have to pay back this loan until you finish or stop attending school. However, the Federal Government subsidizes Perkins Loans. Depending on what type of financial aid package your college or career school offers, you might be eligible for additional federal aid that will not have to be paid back. This money is called an entitlement.
For more information about the Perkins Loan Grant, contact your financial aid office at your college or career school where you are enrolled in school. You can also visit the Federal Student Aid website on the Internet at www.studentaid.ed.gov.
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are grants given to undergraduate students with exceptional financial needs. Eligibility is determined based on information provided by the applicant in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The award amount is based on federal funding, state appropriations, and institutional support. The FSEOG grant has a fixed maximum award per eligible student in an academic year – this maximum varies from school to school. They offer this award to students in their first year at a college. If you are not eligible for this grant in your freshman year, you become eligible in subsequent years if funds are available. You must be enrolled at least half-time to receive these funds.
The process of applying for FSEOG grants varies significantly between colleges. Hence, you must contact your financial aid office directly to determine what steps you need to take to apply for FSEOG at their school. Generally, you will file the FAFSA online while accepting other financial aid – then studentaid.ed.gov will notify you via email or mailing if you are eligible for this additional funding. Your application is not complete until the college receives your Federal Student Aid Report (FSA), which includes information about your Expected Family Contribution, number of family members in school, etc. Some schools require additional documentation before authorizing FSEOG funds to be disbursed to students who are found eligible.
This part-time job with the school allows students to learn real-world work skills. The student earns at least minimum wage and must be available for a work-study position when notified by the financial aid office. The FAFSA bases your eligibility on financial need, enrollment status, and Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Federal Pell Grant
These are grants you don’t need to repay. Each semester, the student must maintain at least half-time (6 hours) enrollment and meet satisfactory academic progress requirements. Eligibility is based on financial need, full-time or part-time enrollment status, and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The Federal Direct Loan Grant (FLG) is a grant awarded to degree-seeking students who attend an eligible school and apply for the grant by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The information provided on your FAFSA is used in determining your eligibility.
The FLG provides up to $20,000 per academic year (meaning an academic year is defined as fall, spring, and summer terms) in the form of a loan. It does not need to be repaid while you are enrolled in school. However, if you withdraw from classes before completing your degree, the remainder of the FLG must be repaid (with interest) within six months or your original period of enrollment.
The Federal Direct Loan Grant is subject to annual and lifetime limits. The calculation of these limits varies depending on whether your first year of entering postsecondary education, the type and cost of your program, and whether you are a dependent or independent student.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
– This grant is awarded to dependent students whose parent or guardian was killed in action while serving in the military after September 11, 2001. You must maintain at least half-time (6 hours) enrollment each semester and meet satisfactory academic progress requirements to retain eligibility. Award amount equals up to $4000 per year. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
– This grant is awarded to dependent students whose parent or guardian was physically disabled while serving in the military after September 11, 2001. You must maintain at least half-time (6 hours) enrollment each semester and meet satisfactory academic progress requirements to retain eligibility. Award amount equals up to $4000 per year. National Guard Grant – This grant is available for dependent children of active members of the National Guard who were called into federal service due to Operation Noble Eagle. The student must be under 24 years old and enrolled at least half-time (6 hours). Eligibility is based on financial need and Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
A new $6,000 annual TEACH Grant program provides scholarships of up to $4,000 per year for undergraduates who agree to teach full-time in a high-need field and at a school that serves students from low-income families. The recipient must be eligible as an undergraduate or graduate student at least half-time and maintain satisfactory academic progress. Applicants need not major in the subject they intend to teach, but programs should include appropriate coursework and support services. Undergraduates may receive a maximum of four years’ funding; if reduced below a full-time load, their award is converted to a loan tenable under other federal loan programs. Students pursuing teacher certification are not eligible if they already hold a bachelor’s degree or professional certification. Related majors are also excluded if applicants already hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in that field, but other teaching majors are eligible.
The TEACH Grant program is a new federal grant for college students who intend to teach in high-need fields and at high-need schools. The bill also provides increased funding for Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs.
Only U.S citizens, permanent residents, or eligible non-citizens are permitted to apply for federal student aid through the FAFSA process. However, state-funded grants may have different requirements, so you must contact your financial aid office directly for more information on eligibility criteria.