It is expensive going to college these days. In order for you to reduce the cost of your education, you need to be aware of the various grants and scholarships that are available. The biggest help comes from the government, but this will not be of use to you if you are seeking scholarships.
There are essentially four sources of monetary aid that you can pursue. We have also indicated the grants or scholarships percentages available from each option:
- Federal Government Grants 47%
- Grants and Scholarships from Schools 35%
- Private Scholarships 10%
- State Grants / Scholarships 8%
If you are looking for financial support for your education then it is essential that you know where to find this. Also, you need to know which grants and/or scholarships you are likely to qualify for; In this article, we will provide you with the details of each one of the options listed above.
To be eligible for a federal grant you have to prove that you are in need of financial aid. You are not going to get a merit scholarship from the government. There are two major grants available from the government:
- Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
In order to qualify for a federal grant, you have to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The Pell Grant
The largest federal government grant is the Pell Grant (23%). Currently, the full grant is $5,920 and this is subject to annual adjustment. The majority of students that receive the full Pell Grant are those that have a household income lower than $60,000. Some students may be eligible for a partial grant.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
If you are a student with an exceptional financial need then you will be able to apply for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). You will not be eligible for an FSEOG if you cannot qualify for a Pell Grant. The FSEOG can provide $1,000 to $4,000 a year. Sometimes money can run out and it’s not always available from all campuses.
There are other financial aid options from the government which are:
- Education Tax Benefits 13%
- Veterans and Military Student Aid 10%
- State Aid 8%
- Federal Loans
Educational Tax Benefits
There are a number of education tax benefits available from the government. Students can claim the benefits through their income tax returns. Some of these benefits relate to textbook expenses and others relate to tuition. Examples of these benefits are:
- American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)
- Tuition and Fees Deduction
- Lifetime Learning Tax Credit (LLTC)
The AOTC provides the greatest savings on tax for higher education costs that qualify and there is a limit of 4 years. Student Loan Interest Deduction is another common tax benefit for education and is available for up to $2,500 in interest payments for private and government student loans.
Continuing education students as well as professional, and graduate students often use the LLTC after they have become ineligible for the AOTC.
Veteran and Military Student Aid
If you are a member of the US Armed Forces or a veteran then there is educational aid available from the government:
- Montgomery GI Bill
- Armed Forces Tuition Assistance (TA)
- Yellow Ribbon Program
- Student Loan Repayment Program
Family members of active-duty officers and veterans may also be eligible for educational aid. There are a number of requirements that you will need to meet to qualify for veteran and military student aid.
There is a state education agency in every state and they usually have at least one financial aid program through a grant or scholarship available to their residents. Some states provide a number of educational financial aid programs.
Southern states usually award financial aid based upon grade point averages and sometimes test scores. East and West coast states normally provide aid on the basis of financial needs. You can find out more about the educational financial aid available in your state by visiting the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).
Institutional Grants and Scholarships
Usually, the award process works in a similar way for all institutions. Students apply to the school and they decide to accept the applicant or not. Some schools will provide merit scholarships and if this is the case then the school will normally decide at the acceptance stage based on test scores and grades.
Normally this process occurs before the school knows if the student is eligible for need-based aid. They will then review the financial aid form and decide whether the student needs assistance or not.
Sometimes a school will be willing to provide additional assistance. In this case, they would usually provide a need-based grant as well as a scholarship. Not all schools provide merit scholarships and financial aid from them is just in the form of grants on a needs basis.
Private Scholarships and Employer Grants
There are other external groups that can award private scholarships:
- Civic Groups
- Private Companies
- Professional Organizations
- Religious Groups
A lot of students make the mistake of assuming that a private scholarship will provide the largest source of finance but this is not the case as it is usually around 10%. Most of the time private scholarships only last for a year and usually, the amount is less than $4,000. Students have around a one in eight chance of gaining a private scholarship.
With the more prestigious scholarships, the odds of being successful go out to 1 in 250 or even 1 in 500. If you are an active participant in your community you are more likely to have a better chance. Good writing skills will also improve your chances if there is an essay submission required.
The Problem with Grants and Scholarships
Even if you obtain a grant or a scholarship for your education then this is very unlikely to cover all of the tuition costs. That means that you will still have a sizeable amount to pay for your education.
Most of the time it is a lot more cost-effective to participate in online education than it is to attend a traditional brick and mortar college. Some schools specialize solely in providing online degrees and their costs are a lot lower than a traditional establishment.
These online education establishments do not have to pay for managing vast amounts of land and support staff. So they pass these cost savings on to students in the form of significantly lower tuition fees. Also, there are no traveling expenses involved with online learning.
You can learn more about the benefits of online learning here.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?