The Federal Pell Grant program
offers the deepest pockets for needy students. Pell Grants providecollege grants financially disadvantaged undergraduates with tuition assistance – often as part of a blended aid package that also includes loans and work-study. Eligibility is determined annually based on submitted FAFSA information and reflects four specific criteria.
Financial need beyond Expected Family Contribution
Specific cost of attending your school
Academic status as a full or part-time student
Consistent yearlong enrollment
The maximum individual award varies each year based on Congressional funding for the program, but it has recently amounted to around $5000 per academic year. (www.studentaid.ed.gov)
The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant program or (FSEOG) are awarded only to students with exceptional need. Students that have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero on their SAR are considered first. Once they have been funded, remaining FSEOG funds are used to provide assistance to students with the next greatest level of need. Money continue to trickle down in this manner until funding is exhausted, so time is of the essence if you are counting on this aid.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are awarded to students, regardless of need, if one of their parents was killed during service in the military. The program mirrors Pell Grants in size and scope, but without the financial need component.
Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG) and Science and Math Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grants are reserved for the most needy Pell Grant candidates. $750 - $1300 can be awarded yearly to disadvantaged students who maintain GPA and eligibility standards. ACG is for first and second year students, while SMART awards funds to third and fourth year students who are studying math, science, engineering and other approved tech subjects.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) is an education initiative that provides tuition assistance for individuals who agree to teach in specific schools upon graduation. Up to $4000 is awarded yearly to education students who commit to the program. Graduates who receive TEACH money must teach for 4 years in an approved primary or secondary school that serves low-income students.
The United States Military pays for college and other vocational training for veterans. The Montgomery G.I. Bill is one of the oldest federal educational assistance programs, while it’s successor, the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, provides for current and future soldiers. Whether they are interpreted as benefits or as grants, the programs pay for tuition, housing, books and other expenses for qualifying veterans. (www.gibill.va.gov)