For low-income individuals and families, access to higher education can be a difficult goal to achieve due to many different factors. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aims to alleviate some of this burden by providing assistance with food costs. However, many SNAP recipients may not be aware that they are also eligible for federal education grants. These grants can provide additional financial support to help make higher education a reality. In this article, we will explore how SNAP recipients can access these grants and what steps they need to take to apply.
Overview of Available Support Grants for a Higher Education
The cost of higher education is expensive, which makes it more challenging for people to afford. This is especially true for low-income individuals and families. However, the government recognizes the importance of higher education and offers several grants to help with the financial burden. These options include:
- Pell Grants
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
The Pell Grant is a need-based federal grant that provides financial assistance to low-income undergraduate students. The grant is named after U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell and has been around for decades. Since then, the Pell Grant program has provided billions of dollars in financial aid to students who could not afford to pay for college on their own.
To be eligible for the Pell Grant, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. The FAFSA is used to determine the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the amount of financial aid they are eligible to receive. The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2022 – 2023 academic year is $6,895.
The amount of the Pell Grant award is determined by several factors like:
- A student’s EFC
- The cost of attendance at their chosen school
- The student’s enrollment status (full-time or part-time)
Unlike student loans, the Pell Grant does not need to be repaid. The grant can be used to cover tuition and fees, room and board, textbooks, and other educational expenses.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
Another grant available to SNAP recipients is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). This grant is awarded to undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and can provide up to $4,000 per year. While not as widely known as the Pell Grant, FSEOG can be a valuable source of financial aid to those who are eligible.
Unlike the Pell Grant, the FSEOG program is a campus-based program. That means that each school receives a limited amount of funding each year to distribute to eligible students. Not all eligible students will receive an FSEOG award, and the amount of the award may vary depending on the availability of funds at the school. Students who are awarded an FSEOG grant may receive the funds directly from their school. Sometimes, the funds can be used to cover tuition and fees, room and board, textbooks, and other educational expenses.
To be eligible for the FSEOG, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. Priority is given to students who receive the Pell Grant and demonstrate the most significant financial need, but other factors such as the cost of attendance at the student’s school and their enrollment status may also be considered.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
For those pursuing a career in education, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant can be an excellent option. This grant provides up to $4,000 per year to students who are completing coursework to become a teacher in a high-need field in a low-income area. However, the actual award amount may be less depending on the availability of funds and the student’s financial need. Recipients must agree to teach for at least four years after graduation to receive the grant. The grant is designed to encourage highly qualified teachers to work in low-income schools in high-need fields, such as mathematics, science, special education, and bilingual education.
To be eligible for the TEACH Grant, students must be enrolled in a participating college or university and be pursuing a degree in education. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher. Another requirement is that the student must agree to teach in a low-income school in a high-need field for a certain period of time. Like other federal grants, the TEACH Grant does not need to be repaid. This is only as long as the student fulfills the service obligation required by this grant.
It’s important to note that if the student does not fulfill the service obligation, the TEACH Grant will be converted into a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. This means it would need to be repaid with interest. To be eligible for the TEACH Grant, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The counseling process is designed to ensure that students understand the terms and conditions of the grant.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
Finally, the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is available to students whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan. The grant provides up to $6,501.99 for the 2022-2023 academic year and is available to students who are not eligible for a Pell Grant but still demonstrate financial need.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is a federal grant program that provides financial assistance to students who have dealt with specific circumstances. This includes students whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. The grant is designed to help the children of fallen soldiers afford the cost of higher education.
To be eligible for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate program. On top of that, they must be ineligible for the Pell Grant due to their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Those that want to apply for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. On the application, they must indicate that their parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan. They must also meet all other eligibility criteria.
In conclusion, while SNAP recipients face financial challenges in accessing higher education, federal education grants can provide much-needed assistance. Anyone interested in applying for these grants should start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This includes even those who aren’t getting SNAP benefits! The FAFSA can be completed online. It is recommended that students complete the application as soon as possible to maximize their chances of receiving financial aid.
In addition to completing the FAFSA, students should also check with their college or university’s financial aid office. This can help them see if there are any additional grants or scholarships available to them. Many schools have their own grant and scholarship programs, which can provide additional financial assistance. Thankfully, there are many avenues of assistance to consider when it comes to getting a higher education. You just need to know some options out there!