Did you know that the United States Department of Education allotted a $60 billion budget for low-cost student loans this year? Out of this amount, $82 billion will be assigned for college grants, loans and other financial assistance for students.
This is an astounding leap, making it possible for 10 million students to benefit from government-financed aids, according to Secretary Margaret Spellings.
Your parents can never stress enough the importance of your college education. As early as the day that you were born, they were already saving up for your future.
Looking at it from a practical point, first, studies show that a college graduate has the potential to earn more in the workplace as compared to somebody who just came out of high school. Second, a college education is invaluable and cannot be taken away from you.
However, with the rising costs of college education – if your family is not that well-off – your parents might not have saved enough to send you to college.
One of the options that you have is to get a private college loan. The disadvantage of personal loans is that they need to be repaid.
A college grant, on the other hand, is like any other financial aid provided by the government which does not need to be paid back.
Thus, it is better to take advantage of the federal aids and grants provided by the government to help you have a college degree. Take a look at the following grants that you can obtain:
1. Federal Pell Grant Program
This is the most common form of federal grants available to help finance your college degree. It is awarded to undergraduate students and may be used alongside other college grants and financial aids.
The amount of Pell Grant money given to a student depends on the cost tuition fees, books, room and board and transportation – as well as the financial capacity and size of the applicant’s family, and whether the applicant is a part-time or full time student.
2. Academic Competitiveness Grant
This government financial aid for college students will provide as much as $750 for your first year in college. For your second year of undergraduate study, you can be awarded an amount of $1,300.
You are qualified to apply for this grant if you have completed a rigorous program in high school. The most important requirement is for you to qualify for a Federal Pell Grant.
3. National SMART Grant
SMART stands for Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent. This grant is provided for third and fourth year students who are also eligible for the Pell Grant.
To qualify for the National SMART Grant, you should be enrolled in an Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science or Critical Foreign Languages major. There are other related majors which will qualify you for National SMART grant.
4. SEOG or the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
The SEOG is granted to undergraduate students and is based on the applicant’s financial need. Just like the Federal Pell Grant, this can be combined with other financial aids for college. The usual amount given is about $1000.
5. Individual Grants Provided by different Colleges and Universities
You can also go to the college or university of your choice and ask about the grants that they offer for qualified students.
Another important thing to remember before applying for any college grant is that you need to fill up a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the FAFSA form.
If you are nearing your high school graduation and you just can’t wait to pack off your bags and head off to college, make sure to check out all of the available college grant options that you have to help kick your way off to getting that ever-important college degree.