Scholarships are one of the most popular ways to pay for college. And easily the most well-known. But what about grants? One common question that revolves around financial aid and college tuition is “Should I use grants for college?” Of course, the follow up is: how to get grants for college.
We cover just that in this article, what it means for your finances, and how you can apply for them.
In Most Cases, Yes You Should Use Grants for College
In most cases, it’s absolutely recommended that you use grants for college. A grant for school is money that doesn’t have to be paid back. You can receive grants through the state, federal government, your college, or other organizations.
Colleges generally give this money to students who have demonstrated financial need (a needs based grant), but they may also be offered if you have academic achievements and a solid work ethic (called merit based grants). The federal government offers the Federal Pell Grant which is based solely on financial need.
Not all colleges and universities have these available so you will want to research into what your potential schools offer.
However, Double Check the Requirements
However, it is important to note that some grants do come with requirements. If it’s discovered you lied about your family’s finances, you could be required to pay back the amount. Merit based grants may also require you to maintain a certain GPA or have another stipulation. If you leave college early, some circumstances may also require you to pay back the money.
Before accepting a grant for college, always double check the requirements to be sure you can meet them and won’t have to pay the money back. You should also note that grants from a college are contingent on you attending that specific school.
How Do You Apply for Grants?
The first step to apply for a grant is by filling out FAFSA. This will deliver the information to your potential colleges regarding your financial situation and make you eligible for both grants and scholarships through the school.
You will also want to complete any applications for state-sponsored merit-based grants that are available in your area, a CSS profile through the College Board, and do research into the various grants that are offered by organizations all over the country. Some grants are based on criteria, just like a scholarship, and there are grants dedicated to international students, minorities, disabled students, and other groups of people.
Grants can be wonderful for saving money on tuition, student loans, and other college costs, and if you get one, you will want to seriously consider accepting it. However, this isn’t a steadfast rule. If one school on your list offers you a grant and your first choice or dream college didn’t, you will want to weigh the pros and cons before saying yes. You won’t want to base your college decision solely on a grant, though it may absolutely influence your final choice. In most cases though, they can mean great things for your finances during college and after graduation.
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