Use Grants to pay for college expenses!
The U.S. Federal and State Governments offer federal aid (i.e. free money) to assist students with paying for a college education. Your financial eligibility is determined by your financial status, and the financial status of your parents (if you are a dependent student) . The first thing you should do is obtain a FAFSA document (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or fill it out online. The FAFSA is the federal application for financial aid, but it is also used to apply for aid from other sources, such as your state or school. You will need a Federal Student Aid PIN, which will allow you to electronically apply for federal student aid and to access your Federal Student Aid records online. You can acquire a FAFSA application from the college you plan to attend, or fill it out online by following the steps at: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.
To receive federal student financial aid, you need to fill out a FAFSA every school year. January 1 is the first day you can submit the FAFSA for a new year. Get your information together and be ready to submit it as soon after the 1rst as you can. You also need to make sure that you submit your Financial Aid application before the deadline. Finished your Taxes Yet? Now's the Perfect time to Get Your FAFSA Application In. Click HERE for help on filing Your FAFSA Forms
Federal Student Financial Aid Deadlines
The 2012 - 2013 School Year (July 1st, 2012 - June 30th, 2013):
- FAFSA on the Web applications must be submitted by midnight Central Daylight time, June 30, 2013.
- Any corrections or updates must be submitted by midnight Central Daylight time, September 24, 2013.
- Note: Your school must have your complete and correct information by your last day of enrollment in the 2012-2013 school year.
The 2013 - 2014 School Year (July 1st, 2013 - June 30th, 2014):
- FAFSA on the Web applications must be submitted by midnight Central Time, June 30, 2014.
- Any corrections or updates must be submitted by midnight Central Time, September 24, 2014.
- Note: Your school must have your complete and correct information by your last day of enrollment in the 2013-2014 school year.
State Student Financial Aid Deadlines
As with Federal Financial Aid,
you need to make sure and apply for your State Aid prior to the deadline. The deadlines
for State Financial Aid are different than Federal Financial Aid and will vary by state.
State's Deadlines for 2012-2013 year
State's Deadlines for 2013-2014 year
Each college may have a different deadline. Check with the college(s) you are interested in attending. You may also want to ask your college about its definition of an application deadline – whether it is the date the college receives your FAFSA, or the date your FAFSA is processed.
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH Grant)
NOTE: For the TEACH Grant Fact Sheet,
The TEACH grant provides up to $4000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. If you are intersted in the TEACH Grant Program, you should contact the financial aid office at the college where you will be attending.
If you receive a TEACH Grant but do not complete the required teaching service you will be required to repay the grants as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.
- Federal Pell Grant
Pell Grants are awarded usually only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. (In some cases, however, a student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Pell Grant.) Pell Grants are considered a foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOS)
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest expected family contributions (EFCs) will be considered first for a FSEOG. Just like Pell Grants, the FSEOG does not have to be repaid.
THE FSEOG can range between $100 and $4,000 a year, depending on when you apply, your financial need, the funding at the school you're attending, and the policies of the financial aid office at your school.
- The Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
The Academic Competitiveness Grant was made available for the first time for the 2006-2007 school year for first-year college students who graduated from high school after January 1, 2006, and for second-year college students who graduated from high school after January 1, 2005. An Academic Competitiveness Grant provides $750 for the first year of study and $1,300 for the second year.
- The National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant)
The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant, also known as the National Smart Grant is available during the third and fourth years of undergraduate study (or fifth year of a five-year program) to at least half-time students who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant and who are majoring in physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering or a critical foreign language; or non-major single liberal arts programs. The student must also maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in course work required for the major. The National SMART Grant award is in addition to the student's Pell Grant award.
A National SMART Grant will provide up to $4,000 for each of the third and fourth years of undergraduate study.
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
Beginning with the 2010-11 award year, a student who is not eligible for a Pell Grant but whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and died as a result of service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 may be eligible to receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.
For complete details on any of the Federal Grants mentioned above, visit the Government's Student Aid site,
After applying for federal student aid, you may also qualify for assistance from your state. Select your state to find grant programs for that area.
There are other grants in addition to Federal and State Grants. Colleges provide institutional grants to help make up the difference between college costs and what a family can be expected to contribute through income, savings, loans, and student earnings.
Each college has their own unique deadline. Check with the college(s) you are interested in attending. You may also want to ask your college about their definition of an application deadline - whether it is the date they receive your FAFSA, or the date your FAFSA is processed.
Federal Student Aid, State Student Aid, and Institutional Aid are not the only sources of grant money. You can also apply for Financial Aid from:
- Religious organizations
- Minority organizations
- Community organizations
- Civic groups
- Organizations related to your field of interest, such as the American Medical Association or American Bar Association.
- Your employer or your parents' employers
- Your union or your parents' unions.
Remember, the most important part of any grant search is the FAFSA. You MUST complete the application and submit it to be considered for most government, public, and university programs. If you don't get the FAFSA filled out in time, you risk missing out on thousands of dollars of free money.
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