Financial aid is money that helps students pay for college or career school. It comes in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study programs and can be supplied by the government, states, schools, nonprofit and private organizations. The United States Department of Education supplies around 150 billion dollars a year to financial aid through grants, loans and work-study programs. State grant agencies determine the eligibility requirements for their financial aid programs and sometimes accept students who do not qualify for federal aid. Scholarships or grants from organizations have specialized requirements that depend on the organization sponsoring the program.
A grant is form of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. It is considered to be a gift of free money that is awarded based on a student’s financial need, such as low income. Grants can come from the government, states, schools or an organization. Awarding aid to anyone who qualifies, the federal government is the largest provider of grant programs. There are four federal grants designed to support students attending four year universities, community colleges and career schools.
The largest of these is the Federal Pell Grant, which is designed for undergraduate students and awards aid to anyone who qualifies for the program. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is also designed for undergraduate students, but is only available on first come, first serve basis. This grant is specifically geared toward students with exceptional financial need.
The TEACH Grant is federal aid designed to improve the education systems of lower income areas. Students who qualify for the grant are required to take certain classes and perform a specific job. After completing their studies, they must work as a teacher in a high needs field for at least four years in a low income area. High needs fields include foreign language, mathematics, reading specialist, science and special education.
The forth federal grant is designed to help families who have lost loved ones overseas. The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant supplies aid to students with a parent or guardian who died serving the military in either of these countries after September Eleven. To qualify, a student must be under 24 years old or enrolled in an institution at the time of their loss.