federal grants can save you thousands of dollars
The Department of Education spends billions of dollars annually through grants for students. The primary benefit of grants is that the student does NOT need to repay the government. Students are eligible for grants by completing and submitting the FAFSA form. Although there are many grants, the main opportunities are the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH Grant), and other institutional grants.
Federal Pell Grant
Federal Pell Grants are mainly awarded to students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree. For the year ended June 30, 2010, the maximum award is $5,350. However, this amount changes each year and is dependent on the student’s financial need, full-time / part-time status, and the cost to attend the school.
FSEOG is a grant primarily for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. They are given to students with the lowest expected family contribution. Funding through FSEOG varies between $100 and $4,000 per year. Similar to the Pell Grants, the amount funded will determine on the student’s need and the aid provided by the school.
Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
ACG provides funding for students in their first and second year of their program of study. First year students can receive $750 and second year students can receive $1,300. The student must meet the following list of requirements:
- Be a U.S. citizen;
- Be a Federal Pell Grant recipient;
- Be enrolled full-time in a degree program;
- Be enrolled in the first or second academic year of his or her program of study at a two-year or four-year degree-granting institution;
- Have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study (read grant details for some completion dates restrictions);
- If a first-year student, not have been previously enrolled in an undergraduate program; and
- If a second-year student, have at least a cumulative 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale for the first academic year.
More eligibility requirements have will be in effect as of July 1, 2009. Please visit The Guide to Federal Student Aid for additional requirements.
The student’s secondary education (high school) curriculum must meet certain criteria. The government publishes a list of all secondary school programs that fulfill the criteria below:
- Rigorous secondary school programs designated by state education agencies (SEAs) and state-authorized local education agencies (LEAs) and recognized by the Secretary of Education.
- Advanced or honors secondary school programs established by states.
- Secondary school programs identified by a state-level partnership recognized by the State Scholars Initiative of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) of Boulder, Colorado.
- A program for a student who completes at least two courses in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program with a score of four or higher on the course examinations or at least two Advanced Placement (AP) courses with a score of three or higher on the College Board's exams for those courses.
- A secondary school program in which a student completes, at minimum:
- Four years of English;
- Three years of math, including algebra I and a higher level class such as algebra II, geometry, or data analysis and statistics;
- Three years of science, including one year each of at least two of the following courses: biology, chemistry, and physics;
- Three years of social studies; and
- One year of a language other than English.