Grants and Scholarships

When it comes to paying for higher education, you have numerous options to consider. First on your list should be to apply for grants and scholarships, mainly because these do not require repayment.

In addition, work-study programs are widely available to supplement the money required to complete your education. Most schools have a financial aid department that will walk you through the various applications and options available to you.

When it comes to paying for higher education, you have numerous options to consider. First on your list should be to apply for grants and scholarships, mainly because these do not require repayment.

View our Free Guide to Grants and Scholarships.

Grants

Unlike a loan, grants do not require repayment. Grants are available from the federal government, state government, schools, and private organizations.

Federal Pell Grants

Federal Pell Grants are the largest source of "gift aid" awarded to undergraduate students who have not received a bachelors' degree, and are based on financial need. Pell Grant amounts for the 2009-2010 award year (July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010) will range from $400 to $5,350. The amount for the 2010-2011 award year will increase to $5,550. How much you get depends on your Expected Family Contribution, your cost of attendance, whether you're a full-time or part-time student, and whether you attend school for a full academic year or less. You may receive only one Pell Grant in an award year, and you may not receive Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

FSEOG awards are given to undergraduate students demonstrating exceptional financial need. Federal Pell Grant recipients receive priority for FSEOG awards. You can receive between $100 and $4,000 a year, depending on when you apply, your financial need, the funding level of the school you are attending, and the policies of your school's financial aid office.

For more information about applying for federal grants, speak to your school's financial aid office or visit the U.S. Department of Education's Student Aid Web site.

Scholarships

Scholarships, which also do not require repayment, are available through a variety of sources, including numerous companies, organizations, and clubs. Scholarships may be based on a variety of factors. Academic performance, financial need, religious affiliation, minority status, heritage, and other unique sets of criteria that are important to the organization providing funds or community affiliations are all examples of what may qualify you for a particular scholarship.

Additionally, each individual educational institution may offer a myriad of individual scholarships. These scholarships are school-specific. You may want to inquire about these when conversing with an admissions advisor.

Numerous scholarship applications are also available online. These large databases are able to send scholarships out monthly, weekly, or even daily.

When applying for scholarships, keep the following points in mind:

  • When writing an essay, always remember who your audience is. For instance, consider who is reading your essay, and direct your verbiage to that particular organization or institution.
  • Apply for scholarships as early as possible.
  • Ensure that you are meeting all criteria the essay requires of you. Be open, honest, and be sure to follow instructions precisely.
  • When mailing in a scholarship application, be sure to send it certified and request a receipt to ensure whoever is offering the scholarship receives it.
  • Double-check your spelling and grammar.

Scholarship Web Sites

For more scholarship information, visit the following sites:

Work-Study Programs

The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing you to earn money to help pay education expenses. You can participate in a work-study program if you are awarded Federal Work-Study with your financial aid package. The program encourages community service work and tries to offer work related to your course of study. Each school has work-study programs specific to that particular school. Some of you may be eligible to begin upon enrollment and others of you may have to wait until you have obtained a certain amount of credits.

The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing you to earn money to help pay education expenses. You can participate in a work-study program if you are awarded Federal Work-Study with your financial aid package. The program encourages community service work and tries to offer work related to your course of study. Each school has work-study programs specific to that particular school. Some of you may be eligible to begin upon enrollment and others of you may have to wait until you have obtained a certain amount of credits.

For more information on specific programs offered by schools, visit the Education Resource Organizations Directory.