Federal and State Grants for College

    Federal and state governments are perhaps the largest source of grant aid. This is money that does not have to be paid back. Eligibility is determined by financial need, and a “C” average will usually satisfy the academic requirement. You will also need a high school diploma, GED (or equivalent), and be enrolled in a qualified higher education school. Grants are open to all U.S. citizens, although some non citizens, such as permanent residents, also qualify. Federal Grants are typically reserved for undergraduates only.

Most scholarship and private grant foundations will expect you to exhaust all federal and state aid opportunities before they give you an award, so applying is essential. Also, many other financial aid sources will reduce your award depending on how much you receive in government grant aid.

To apply, submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can do this online here:  For best results, submit your application as early as possible--January of the year to plan to begin college. The cost of your school and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be the chief factors determining how much aid you may receive.

What types of grants are available?

    The most common is the Pell Grant. Awards range from $400 - $4,050, but this may go up next year. They are reserved for the students with the greatest financial need. If you or your family has an EFC that is too high, you will not be eligible.

    Students with an exception financial need may qualify for a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). Only the lowest income students will win these. The federal government allots a limited amount of funds for SEOGs each year. When this money runs out, no more grants are made until the following year. Contact the financial aid department of your school for more information about SEOGs.

    State College Grants: Most states have grant programs independent of the federal government. To qualify, you will most likely have to be a resident of the state and attend a state institution. This is not always the case. Texas, for example, offers grants for students attending out of state colleges, if no institution offers their chosen degree within Texas. Some states also have grants, or tuition reductions, for residents of nearby states. Check with State Aid Agencies for details.  

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