Am I Eligible for Grants?
Posted on October 31, 2014 by Delaware Valley College.
The main difference between a grant and a loan is that you don’t have to repay a grant if you meet certain requirements, while a loan must be repaid without exceptions. There are standard requirements that you must meet to be eligible for a grant, for example, you must be a U.S. citizen, have a valid social security number, have a high school diploma or GED, and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA includes information such as your parents’ income to help the U.S. Department of Education determine your need for financial aid. After you file the form providing this information, you'll receive a document explaining what you'll be awarded, if anything.
Federal grants are awarded to those students who need it the most based on their parents’ income levels. The Federal Pell Grant is one grant that helps the neediest students get an education. Often, students awarded this grant qualify for others, such as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
There are also grants you can receive from your state. For example, if you’re attending Delaware Valley University and are a resident of Pennsylvania, you may be awarded a grant from the Pennsylvania State Grant Program. This financial assistance program will generate your grant based on your needs in accordance with state policies.
Like the government has money for students with the most need, colleges often have a pool of funding that goes to low-income students. Delaware Valley University offers the Challenge Grant to assist those who have excelled academically and have financial need. To find out if your school offers any grants, contact your financial aid office.
Many private organizations offer grants as well. It’s common for these types of grants, like scholarships, to focus on specific student characteristics and backgrounds. Students who are going into a field with a high demand for employees have many options for grant funding. Do some research on the grants they offer to determine whether you qualify. Most private organizations that offer grants have a simple application process, but others require essays. Be sure to submit your application early in order to be one of the first students in the running for the grant.
Take the time to research grant opportunities that may be available to you. Contact your financial aid office, talk to local organizations, and contact a state representative to explore all of your options. Be sure to spend time seeking out grants because you could potentially lower the cost of your education.