Regardless of whether you are a high school senior looking to obtain suitable training and education before entering the workforce, or an adult who is currently employed but wants to train for a better job, this primer on school grants will hold you in good stead.
With that said, let’s not waste any more time; here are the top 10 questions every student should ask about school grants…
1. What are school grants, exactly? They are essentially gifts of money provided to students who can demonstrate financial need or academic abilities. Unlike student loans, school grants are “free” money and do not need to be paid back. Grants are also rarely provided with any expectation of performance, as scholarships often are (a student can lose his or her scholarship if he or she does not maintain a certain academic standing).
2. What’s the difference between a grant, a scholarship and a loan? Grants do not need to be paid back, loans do, and although scholarships do not need to be paid back, they may be conditional on ongoing academic performance.
3. Who offers scholarships? Normally these are offered by federal and state governments, private foundations and educational institutions.
4. Why do governments fund grants? Aren’t grants a drain on the treasury? No… an educated populace saves the government money (skilled people are more likely to find work and less likely to require social assistance) plus they earn more over the course of their lifetimes, contributing to the government’s treasury via an increased tax load. By funding school grants the government is making an investment in its citizens, knowing full well that in the long term, this is an investment that earns them a very decent return.
5. Who can apply for grants? Usually, any person with legal citizenship status is able to apply.
6. What determines eligibility? If you’re a “mature” student currently in the workforce looking to train for a new job, it will be dependent on your current salary. For high school students, it will be dependent on your family’s income.
7. How do I apply for grants? The main federal grants, known as Pell grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) can be applied for by submitting a Federal Application for Student Aid form. This form can be obtained and submitted online (at www.fafsa.ed.gov), or you can obtain it from your high school, as well as local colleges, universities, vocational and technical schools. For grants offered by specific institutions and private foundations, you will need to contact them directly for specific instructions.
8. How long before I know whether I’ve been approved? After applying for a federal grant via the Federal Application for Student Aid form you can expect to receive a Student Aid Report within a few days to a few weeks, depending on whether you submit the form online or send it in via regular mail.
9. What is the difference between Pell grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants? The FSEOG only covers a portion of your costs (75%) and expects you to cover the rest.
10. I think my salary (or my family’s salary) may disqualify me from receiving a grant. Should I apply anyway? Absolutely. It costs nothing to apply, and the worst that is going to happen is that you do not get approved. It’s definitely worth the small investment of time on your part to submit an application.
And there you have it; 10 questions every student should ask about school grants!
Mike Clarke is a blogger, author, and contributor to SchoolGrantsBlog.com; the web`s premier destination for all things related to school and college grants and scholarships!