Grants, Part 3

 

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State Grants


Most states offer grants to assist students in paying for a college education. These grants are specifically designed for students planning to pursue higher education in their home state. Like federal grants, state grants are based on a number of different criteria, including financial need, field of study and merit. The best places to find information on different state grants, eligibility criteria and deadlines are state based education programs, high schools and post-secondary education institutions.   

Financial Need

Academic Merit Vs. Financial NeedMajority of these grants are modeled after federal programs and use financial need to determine eligibility. For example, if a student qualifies for a Pell Grant, they will often also be eligible for state sponsored aid.
 
In the state of California, the Cal Grants Program offers up to 12,192 dollars to degree-seeking students that demonstrate financial need. The Tuition Assistance Program, sponsored by the state of New York, provides full-time students with up to 5,000 dollars in awards. These awards are based on a student’s family income, cost of attendance and number of family members in college.
 
Modeled after the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, the Michigan Educational Opportunity Grant is only available to students who are also Pell Grant recipients.

Academic Merit

There are also career specific state grants that replicate merit based federal grants. Merit grants are usually based on academic achievement and require students to maintain a high cumulative grade point average. As with some federal grants, some state grants require students to sign a service agreement, promising to work in a high need field after completing their studies sponsored by the grant. However, state grants usually require that students work locally.

The Illinois Future Teacher Corps Program is very similar to the Federal TEACH Program and is only available to students who are planning to be teachers in Illinois. Eligible students can receive up to 10,000 dollars and are required to teach a high need field in a hard to teach school. However, if a student fails to fulfill this commitment, their free grant funding is turned into loans.



College Grants

Colleges usually have grant funding saved up to assist students with financial need. These grants can be awarded based on financial need, academic merit or a particular characteristic, such as a field of study or minority status. Family members of alumni and out-of-state students are also sometimes awarded college grants to help make their education more affordable.

College grants are often awarded to students as a supplement to federal and state grants. Students with exceptional financial need are awarded college grants to help cover any tuition expenses not taken care of by their federal aid. As a recruitment incentive, colleges will often award grants to exceptionally talented student athletes as a supplement to any sports scholarships.

The best way to find out about college grants and their deadlines is on a college campus, either in the financial aid office or department of a particular major.



Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Important Deadlines for Student Aid

Used by the Department of Financial Aid, states and colleges, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a student’s gateway to the largest amount of possible grant opportunities. This application collects information regarding a student’s family size, income, assets and members in college to calculate a student’s expected family contribution. Based on a set formula established by Congress, a student’s expected family contribution is used along with their cost of attendance to determine their level of financial need.

Used by the Department of Financial Aid, states and colleges, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a student’s gateway to the largest amount of possible grant opportunities. This application collects information regarding a student’s family size, income, assets and members in college to calculate a student’s expected family contribution. Based on a set formula established by Congress, a student’s expected family contribution is used along with their cost of attendance to determine their level of financial need.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid becomes available in January. For federal grant opportunities the application may be submitted anytime between the first of January and the end of June. College grant deadlines are usually earlier, falling in February or March. Varying with each state, the best way to be sure of state deadlines is by checking with an adviser.

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