How to Apply for Grants for College
When students find out that grants can provide them with funding assistance for college, and that the funds they get simply never have to be repaid, they typically have only one question: “How can I apply?”
Once these eager students find out how very easy it is to apply for grants, they’re more likely to do so each and every year. After all, it just takes moments to apply, and the rewards can be quite great. Read on to find out more.
Pulling Together Documentation
College grants are provided to students facing education costs that they simply cannot pay. It sounds like a relatively straightforward situation, but unfortunately, the concept of “need” can be somewhat subjective. After all, if asked, most students would suggest that they need some kind of help in order to pay for college. The costs are just astounding, and it can be hard for almost any student to come up with the funds required.
In order to level the playing field and separate those who really need assistance from those who might be able to get by without help, school officials utilize the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By requiring all students to fill out the same form, officials have the best shot at making a decision that’s fair and equitable.
The form itself is free to obtain and free to submit, but there’s a significant amount of information that students must supply, including:
- Proof of identity
- Family financials
- Personal financials
- Cost of school
- Student’s enrollment status
Students who hope to obtain a grant should look over the FAFSA carefully and ensure that they have all of the required documentation on hand, so they’ll be able to fill out the form with a minimal amount of hassle.
Understanding the Numbers
If a student fills out a FAFSA and qualifies for a grant, those fees are disbursed automatically. There’s nothing a student needs to do in order to make that happen, and according to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, about 9.7 million students got a grant like this in 2011-2012.
But some students who do apply for a federal grant simply do not qualify. And of those who do get a grant, the funds might not be sufficient. They may still need the assistance of an outside source in order to pay for school, and they may not be willing to take out a loan to cover their costs.
Applying for a grant at the state level may help, as these programs can sometimes be quite generous. For example, Minnesota’s State Grant program is designed to assist students from low-income families, and in fiscal year 2012, the program awarded $143 million in grants. That’s a significant amount of money that could help a student in need.
Some students find out about these loans through the financial aid offices at the schools they plan to attend. They visit with counselors, talk over their options and pick up brochures that can help. But our online tools may also be useful. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships and other forms of free money that you could use to pay for college, and we make it easy for you to search by school name, so you can get the funding you need. Start browsing to find out more.