There are many students who would like to scale the heights of the academic ladder but they are held back by financial hardships. Students in such a situation can get themselves out of the situation if they get grants for college. Grants are free monetary gifts to the students pursuing higher education.
Grants are different from student loans as the beneficiaries are not required to repay. They are also different from scholarships which are mostly provided by certain groups to specific people. Scholarships are usually restricted to certain lines of study and the beneficiaries are usually students with exceptional grades.
The Pell grant is one of the most popular forms of grants. It is a financial aid that is provided by the federal government to help offset the cost of post-secondary education for the families who are in dire need of financial help. Information on Pell grants can be found at the guidance offices at the educational institutions that students plan to attend. The application forms can be found online. Beneficiaries of the Pell grants are not required to repay them after withdrawing from schools or graduation.
Other types of grants are
- Private grants
- Minority grants
- State grants
- Grants for disabled persons
- Grants for women
- Military grants
- Grants for students from disadvantaged grounds
Grants for college are available even for the students who are not qualified for a full amount. Partial grants are provided to students who come from families whose finances fall within the eligible range for grants. Grants have application deadlines that are in advance of a corresponding school year. However, the deadlines are not fixed. They vary depending on the type of grant and the providers. There are grants for college reserved for incoming freshmen whereas others are reserved for graduate students or upper classmen.
If you are preparing to seek a grant, be prepared to devote a lot of your time to the application exercise. Most grant applications are lengthy and they have a lot of requirements. Some of the grant requirements may include:
- Financial statements
- School transcripts
- Personal statements
- Reference letters
Grants Hunting Tips
Students who are interested in getting grants should start researching about grants and applying early so as to beat the quotas. It is wise to apply to different institutions. Grants for certain projects might not be available in one state but they can be found in other states hence it is advisable to be flexible and try different places.
Students should extend their search for grants even to unlikely sources such as the companies that their parents work for, and special alumni grants at the colleges that they intend to attend.
Other helpful tips when searching for college grants:
1. Application for grants to school financial advisors may fail to cover all the needs. It is sensible to place applications to as many grant sources as possible so as to cover most of the college expenses.
2. Write a grant application in the best way possible as this is the way to convince the grant providers of your qualification. They reject many grant applications because of poor writing, spelling and skipped sections.
3. Write your application in an enthusiastic way that easily communicates the reason for choosing a certain course and future hopes. Enthusiasm shows dedication.
4. If a photo is one of the grant requirements, it is wise to take a new one in a pose that will create a good impression. A passport sized photograph is preferable due to the official nature of the application.
5. Ask someone to read through the grant application and determine if it has errors.