A college grant can give you free money to fund your education.
If you need help right away, some programs may direct deposit a short-term loan into your bank account.
Before you start searching for some, here’s a quick look at the different types of college grants you’ll come across.
The list of college grants is quite long. If you’ve never looked for this form of free money before, the sheer number of opportunities can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s best to break down your grant search according to category.
Here are the main types you’ll be dealing with during your research:
1. Federal Grants
These grants come from the U.S. Department of Education and are tough to beat. When beginning your grant search, it’s best to start at the top with the broadest category, which is federal.
Some examples of popular federal grants include:
- Pell Grant – Based on financial need, this grant is attainable by anyone on their way to college. You’ll need to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form to apply for it.
- Academic Competitiveness Grant – You’ll have to qualify for the Pell Grant first to be eligible here. The grant is both merit and need-based, and can offer $750 for first-year students and $1,300 for sophomores.
You can learn more about federal college grants from the U.S. Department of Education here.
2. State-Sponsored Grants
After your federal grant search is exhausted, it’s time to move to the state level. These grants usually require you to be a resident of the state to qualify. Like federal and other grants, they can be need or both merit and need-based.
To find what grants your state has to offer, go here and select it from the map.
3. College-Specific Grants
With your federal and state grant search complete, now’s the time to move towards grants offered from specific colleges themselves. Why would a college offer grants of its own? To attract students to enroll. As with other grants, the ones you’ll find here can be based on merit or need. Your opportunities may also depend on your course of study.
The financial aid office of the college you’re interested in will have more information on the grants they have to offer.
4. Grants for Specific Careers and Course Studies
Universities, professional associations, and private and public endowments sponsor grants for students looking to pursue a specific career. For instance, Future Farmers of America offers over $2 million per year in grants and scholarships to students looking to get a degree in agriculture.
5. Grants for Student Types
The amount of available grants grows even wider once you start searching for free money offered to certain students. For example, you can search for college grants for:
- Disabled students
- Students with medical conditions like diabetes or breast cancer
- Single parents
- Adult students returning to college after several years
- And more
6. Unique Grants
Last but not least, there are even more grants given out for unique reasons such as:
- The Truman Library Institute Research Grants – Given to grad students researching the former president.
- The Endangered Language Fund – Given to those who study ancient languages.