You may be finding it difficult to afford school; most people are. Fortunately, there is a way for you to afford school without having a mental breakdown. The Federal Government can help in that aspect; since the government understands that many people need financial assistance for affordable education. You will find that there are different programs that you can apply for, in order to receive funding for educational expenses.
Grants are one of the most common types of financial assistance you can receive from the Federal Government. With these federal grants, you can pay for school and you do not have to worry about paying it back. You will find that there are two types of programs: need-based grants and merit-based grants. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the different grants that you can apply for. Additionally, you can look for alternative financing options on a federal level, as well.
Are There Free Federal Education Grants Available?
As mentioned above, there are two types of federal educational programs. The two forms are: need-based grants and merit-based grants. With a need-based grant, students who need financial assistance the most are most likely to receive this type of grant. In terms of merit-based grants and scholarships, the Program offers these funds based on personal achievement and academic performance. This could include good grades, community roles, extra-curricular activities, and more. You can find educational grants from all kinds of sources, such as the private sector, corporations, states, and more!
Some of the most common types of federal education grants are as follows:
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Pell Grant
- TEACH Grant
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
You will find other forms of federal educational assistance that are available based on different factors. These factors include: your career choice, job location, family history, service status, and way more. But, you need to remember that the most important step is finding out if you qualify for the grant. If you want to apply for any federal student grant, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application form will help determine the assistance you need to cover your educational expenses. Make sure that you file your FAFSA on time. You will not find a substitute for this document.
So, the best way to avoid missing the deadline is to create a schedule of all of the upcoming deadlines.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a campus-based assistance option that offers different forms of assistance to the most financially eligible undergraduates. You will find that schools offer this type of grant. But, you should keep in mind that not every school offers the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).
This grant can offer students up to $4,000 a year in financial aid. The amount that you receive from the grant depends on certain information, such as: your financial need, when you apply, and how much the school you will attend plans to offer in financial aid. But, before you plan ahead, you need to make sure that the school you will attend offers this type of grant.
The Pell Grant is one of the most popular federal education grants in the United States. Since it is the largest provider of student grants, you have probably heard of it. These grants offer financial relief to help undergraduates pay for educational expenses. If you want to qualify for the Pell Grant, then you will need to show financial need, remain enrolled full-time in school, and have a qualifying cost of attending school. These factors will determine whether you can receive the Pell Grant or not. This grant can offer students up to $6,895 a year. But, you should keep in mind that this amount changes on an annual basis. Typically, undergraduates who demonstrate financial need and want to earn their degree receive the Pell Grant.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
As mentioned above, there are grant options that depend on your career choice. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant is one of them. Students who want to join the educational sector can significantly benefit from this grant opportunity. The TEACH grant offers up to $4,000 a year to eligible students that are enrolled in a TEACH-Grant-eligible program!
One of the conditions of the TEACH grant is that you need to agree to teach in high-need locations after you graduate.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
One of the most impressive and endearing grant options is the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. This grant offers funds to any student that lost a parent who served in the U.S. military. There are other options that can provide reimbursement to military service members for their college education. You should make sure that you discuss these grant options if you are serving in the military or have served in the military previously.
Similar to the Pell Grant, the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant can offer students up to $6,895 a year. However, you will need to make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements to qualify for this educational grant. The requirements are as follows:
Your parent or guardian must have been a member of the U.S. armed forces and died from the military service that took place in either Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11/2001.
You must have been younger than 24 years old or have been enrolled in college at least part-time at the unfortunate passing of a guardian or parent.
Other Federal Education Assistance Options
Grants are a great option to pay for your education. However, there are other alternatives that you can consider that are just helpful. One of these options is work-study programs, federally backed loans, and tax benefits.
The Federal Work-Study program offers an opportunity for students to work and get financial aid at the same time. This Program provides part-time employment for professional, graduate, and undergraduates that demonstrate financial need. Through the Work-Study Program, students have the chance to earn money and use those funds towards educational expenses. The job opportunities that the Program offers are relevant to your focus or specialty. Typically, schools are the ones responsible for administering this type of assistance option. If you want to know more about this type of assistance, then you should talk to your financial aid office.
There are many students that do not consider their school’s work-study program because they are unaware of how flexible it can be. This program offers two types of job opportunities, on-campus jobs and off-campus jobs. The amount that you can earn depends on the job that you are working in and your application date. Other factors, such as your financial need and funding available at your school, play a role in how much you earn. But, you can expect that you will earn at least the federal minimum wage, on an hourly basis or a salary pay. How often you get paid is different from one job to another. But, you can expect to get paid at least once a month.
Federally Backed Loans
If you want to fund your education through a loan, then you can choose from a private loan or a federally backed loan. Federally-backed educational loans are commonly known as federal student loans. Generally, these loan options come with better benefits than a private loan. With federal student loans, the Department of Education serves as your lender. You will find that there are four types of direct educational loans you can receive:
- Subsidized Loans
- Unsubsidized Loans
- PLUS Loans
- Consolidation Loans
Direct Subsidized Loans
Direct subsidized loans are loans that undergraduates with financial need can receive. The university or school will define how much you can borrow. Fortunately, interest rate terms are very manageable with direct subsidized loans. The Department of Education pays the interest that accumulates on the loan while you are studying at least half-time, for the first 6 months after you graduate, and during a deferment period (if applicable).
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Direct unsubsidized loans are available for undergraduates, graduates, and professional students. But, as opposed to subsidized loans, these loans do not depend on financial need. The school or university will determine how much you can receive, similar to a subsidized loan. But, you are responsible for paying the interest on your own.
Direct PLUS Loans
You will find that there are two forms of PLUS loans available. These two types are: the direct parent PLUS loan and the direct graduate PLUS loan. The parent loan helps parents of the student and the graduate loan helps graduate students or professional students. In terms of eligibility, these loans do not depend on financial need. You will need to provide a credit check, though. If you do not have the best credit score, then you will need to meet the other eligibility requirements to qualify. You will find that these loans take into consideration your cost of attendance at the institution minus the financial aid you received from other sources.
Direct Consolidation Loans
If you have many forms of federal student loans, then you can take all of them and turn them into a direct consolidation loan. Direct consolidation loans will help you to improve the financial management of your current loan. As opposed to making several payments each month, you can merge them into one loan, which will make your life easier and you will have a better handle on your finances. Additionally, you will not find yourself lost in remembering which payment goes where. When you consolidate your educational loans, you will need to make one payment at one point during the month.
Benefits of Federally Backed Loans
You will find that there are many benefits that come with having a federally-backed loan. These benefits include:
- These types of loans have fixed interest rates and the interest rate is typically lower than the interest rates of private loans.
- You do not need to present a credit check for most federal loan options.
- You do not need to repay your federal student loans until after you graduate or drop below half-time.
- Depending on the loan, the Federal Government can cover some interest.
- There is a lot of flexibility with these loans, in terms of repayment options.
- The Federal Government can forgive parts of your federal student loans.
You will find that there are many beneficial tax opportunities that are available to help you with your educational costs. There are tax credits that help students offset educational expenses. These expenses can include:
- Educational Fees
These tax benefits are able to offset these educational expenses through the reduction of your total amount of income tax.
- Credit #1 – The American Opportunity Credit: This tax credit offers an individual the opportunity to claim up to $2,500 per student each year for the first 4 years of school.
- Credit #2 – The Lifetime Learning Credit: This tax credit offers an individual the opportunity to claim up to $2,000 per student each year for any school fees that were necessary for course completion.
There are tax credits that are available, but there are also tax benefits. Opportunities can be able to help you with educational costs, such as a Coverdell Education Savings Account, Qualified Tuition Program (529 plan), student loan interest deduction, and more!
In conclusion, applying for federal educational grants is a great way to pay for your educational expenses. It might not be easy to afford your education, if you pay on your own. This is why you should consider applying for federal educational grants and other alternative educational financial assistance options. But, you need to make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements before you apply. Additionally, you can even find assistance with tax credits and tax benefits. Before you apply for anything at all, you need to make sure that you choose the right option for your current situation. The whole point is to find a financing option that will help you!