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What Are College Grants?

Just one look at the rising tuition costs for students in the United States reveals just how daunting paying for one’s education can be. One tentative solution for many current or prospective students are grants. Grants are financial incentives like scholarships that are put in place to fund students who may not have the financial capabilities to pay for school. Often provided by Federal and state governments, however, grants help motivate various groups that may otherwise be compromised because of high tuition costs. Athletic grants, housing grants and minority grants may also be funded by private donation, but they are often put in place by communities that oversee the efforts of these youth towards higher planes of success.

Government Grants

When you complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid as a prospective student, then you are automatically placed under consideration for grants from the federal government. There are many different types of grants available based on various needs and merits.

Federal Pell Grant

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Pell Grants are awarded to those who require financial aid. As of 2013, the highest amount that can be awarded to a student per year is $5,400.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

This grant is similar to the Pell Grants, but there are a few minor differences. One is that this is reserved for the students who have the highest need for financial assistance, and they receive a preliminary grant of $4,000.

Academic Competitiveness Grant

Added on to a student’s Pell Grant, the Academic Competitiveness Grant is put in place to provide further incentive for those qualifying federal grants. Although it requires at least a GPA of 3.0 and may not accept all above that minimum, it nevertheless provides the students with up to $2,000 dollars in grant money in their first two years of schooling.

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National SMART Grant

The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant can be added to a Pell Grant, but it will provide prospective students with up to $4,000 in supplementary finances if they specialize in mathematics, sciences, technology or engineering.

Athletic Grants

While Federal Grants are focused primarily on high-achieving students or low-income situations, grants have also been put in place for athletics. College sport is of course a great experience for students, but debt can accumulate if it compromises off-season employment. Grants like the USBC Alberta E. Crowe Star of Tomorrow Award (bowling) or the World Team Tennis Donnelly Awards help students who put much time into their athletics get the support they require,

Housing Grants

Housing grants are essential for those who cannot afford housing or living expenses. Housing grants may help with paying the monthly rent, but there are also many indirect options, as well. Costs for transportation, for example, may be the focus of a certain grant. The best way to find these is to contact the housing office of your University.

Minority Grants

The federal government understands that, for minorities, there are inevitable hardships that may prevent them from accessing higher education. Luckily, there is a wide selection of ethnic and non-ethnic grants available for minorities. Ethnic minority grants are based on the challenges that such groups may face, and are catered to nationalities or races, such as Asians, Cubans or Arabs. Non-ethnic minority grants, on the other hand, cater to such groups as disabled, blind or transgendered individuals. Many of the Federal Grants set up for low-income students are available to minorities, but certain foundations, such the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Hispanic College Fund and the United Negro College Fund have established large monetary foundations to help particular groups. Many corporations will also establish scholarships to boost public relations, but they are nevertheless beneficial and in some cases lucrative. The best solution is to keep an open ear and to regularly check scholarship hubs online to find the most recent openings.