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Tips on How to Apply For College Grants

Updated on January 10, 2013

Intro

It does not matter what age you are or what level of schooling you have undergone, whether you are a graduate or an undergraduate, but it makes sense to know about the application process for college grants, which is now tougher than ever before. The first point to remember is that federal loans are very different from federal aids. While federal loans are a big problem, federal aids include college grants amongst various other activities that it encompasses. We are going to emphasize on college grants in this article and discuss how to go about applying for it.

Increasing popularity

More and more students are forgetting about procuring federal loans, primarily because of the fact that repaying such loans can be a big problem. Instead, grants are now most preferred. Availability of such grants is usually higher because both the federal as well as state governments are offering them. The other big benefit is that there is no need for repayment. The Pell grant, in this regard is one of the most popular.

The Pell Grant

An important thing to remember about grants, be it Pell or any other is that your financial need is more important than your academic achievements and records. This is not to say that individual colleges and universities are not concerned about certain standards of academic accomplishments in their students. Otherwise, the Pell grant and grants similar to this are not too concerned about your academic results.

FAFSA

The first step is to fill out the somewhat laborious form called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA form. There are many ways you can procure it – including online sources, though you would need to provide your personal Identification Number (PIN). Both of them are available from the Department of Federal Aids website. Such forms are also available from the offices of the college of your choice or from the financial aid office.

Financial data

The application also requires you to provide some details about your current financial status including your last Tax returns as well as the latest W-2. Such documents are available with your parents in case you are a dependent student. All such information justifies your needs to seek the Pell grant or similar grants.

Student Aid Report

You need to ensure that all the information you have provided in the FAFSA form are accurate. Whether you submit the form through the net or though mail, you would receive the SAR subsequently, which is also called the Student Aid Report. You should get this within a few days or a few weeks. This report includes the following information: summary of the FAFSA form, the kind of aid you are eligible to receive, the amount of aid you might get, details of any expectations from your family regarding financial matters, and so on. If all the information is favorable, then you can start contacting the colleges and universities where you want to join, to check if they too have the same information.

Additional information

As is evident, applying for a college grant is not a big problem provided you are prepared to devote some time, patience and effort for the purpose. Other than FAFSA there are several other sites which provide listing of other scholarships and grants available. For those students who need financial help, such information can be extremely beneficial.

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    • Learning in Life profile image

      Megan Harvison 4 years ago from SW Florida

      The Pell Grant has saved my college education. I am so grateful it is available and was very easy to get. Other than being qualified for it, all I had to do was fill out the FASFA. So many people don't realize they could be getting a free education!

    • Ms._Info profile image

      Ms._Info 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Although I've been out of school for many, many years, I do remember applying for and receiving a Pell grant. I also received a Tap grant. I wonder if Tap is still available.

    • SolveMyMaze profile image

      SolveMyMaze 4 years ago

      Cool hub. It's great to know that people can still get grants to pay for their college courses. It really shouldn't be monopolised for only rich people to be able to continue their education.

      I can see why the grants have been more popular over the last five years or so!

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