Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs) are reserved for undergraduates with significant financial need. The annual award is set by individual colleges, but federal guidelines set a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $4,000 per academic year. Students must file their FAFSA® in order to apply for an FSEOG.
What are Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) Awards?
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are awarded to undergraduate students and don’t need to be repaid. The amount of FSEOG aid awarded is determined by the extent of the student’s financial need. Additional factors considered include the other financial aid you receive and what other financial aid is available through the particular college.
How to Apply for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)?
It’s imperative you plan ahead for this, and the most important recommendation is to apply for FAFSA® as soon as possible when October 1 rolls around. This is important because each school only receives a limited amount of FSEOG funds each academic year.
Who is Eligible for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)?
Students who demonstrate significant financial need through their application and show a low EFC or Expected Family Contribution, are eligible for FSEOG aid. FSEOGs are awarded to students who will receive Federal Pell Grants and demonstrate the greatest need.
FSEOG student aid is only available to students who haven’t already graduated with a bachelor’s or another professional degree. Other eligibility criteria for the FSEOG include:
- You are a U.S. citizen.
- You have never defaulted on other student loans.
- Your grades meet a minimum requirement, usually around a 2.0 GPA.
- Completion of the FAFSA®.
How is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Awarded?
Students who are recipients of an FSEOG award will be paid at least once during the school year. Options for payment include direct deposit into the student’s account, paid directly to the student, or some combination of the two.
Tips for Applying for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The most important aspect of getting FSEOG aid is applying for FAFSA® as soon as possible. Applying early means you have a better chance at the funds allotted to your particular school. Once a school’s FSEOG monies run out, there are no options to get more, so applying early gives you a better chance at the available grant aid.
Ask if your school applies to the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE form in addition to FAFSA®. This can assist with non-federal aid options.
Do I Have to Repay Back Grants?
Under normal circumstances, you don’t have to pay grants back. There are some situations that may require partial payback of a federal grant. These include:
- A student withdraws early from the educational program and/or school that they received the grant for.
- There was a change in enrollment status that affected the student’s eligibility.
- The student received some additional scholarships or grants that reduced the need for federal grants.
It’s important to pay close attention to the eligibility requirements and ensure you remain eligible for the entire academic year. If you’re receiving FSEOG, you are receiving a Pell Grant. If you have to repay a portion of that and default, it will disqualify you from receiving any future federal student financial aid.
If you have defaulted on a guaranteed student loan or still owe a refund on a federal grant, you may still be disqualified from FSEOG eligibility. You need to verify specific requirements with the school you are attending. Some schools may consider eligibility, but you have to provide a written release from the loan agency or U.S. Department of Education. This applies regardless of whether or not you’re in default of the repayment.
What’s the Difference between FSEOG and Pell Grants?
FSEOG grants funds to participating schools, and they are designed to be a supplement to the Pell Grants to students most in need of financial assistance. Not every school participates in the FSEOG and those that do must make contributions to the grant program. The federal government sets aside three dollars, and the institution has to contribute one dollar.
The Pell Grant is awarded by the government whereas the FSEOG is awarded by the school to the student. And, students cannot receive FSEOG funds unless they have received a Pell Grant.
If you’re a student in need of extra financial aid and want to increase your chances of getting FSEOG student assistance, it’s best to talk to the schools you’re applying to and see if they offer the grant. Another way to ensure the best financial aid package is to make sure to file your FAFSA® as soon as the application opens for the new school year on October 1st.