Getting grant money for college is as easy as filing your FAFSA® every year.
As long as you meet the eligibility, you’re likely to be awarded one of the federal grants or institutional scholarships offering.
Types of Grants
There are two grants students can win — merit-based grants and need-based grants. Let’s take a look at the difference between them.
Merit-based are for excellent academic progress, achievement, or commitment to the community. Colleges or universities award them based on your transcript from high school (or previous colleges).
You can speak to your school about what grants they offer that fall under the Merit-based umbrella.
Need-based grants are awarded based on you or your family’s economic status. Filing FAFSA® is one surefire away to gain eligibility for these grants. The government and your school use a formula called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on tax returns to determine your eligibility.
How do I get Grants?
As we mentioned above, your eligibility for various grants depends on you filing your FAFSA®. Submit your application before the deadline, with correct information, and your school will review it to determine your financial aid status.
After reviewing your application, you will get an Aid Award Letter that outlines any grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study opportunities that are available to you. A
Unfortunately, there is no way to know exactly how much money you’ll get in grants until you receive the aid award. Colleges have their own way of determining eligibility, so every school is different.
What grants are there?
Fortunately, there are several different federal grants you could be eligible for. You can view a list of them here.
However, don’t forget that some institutions, organizations, and companies award grants as well. And you can also apply for scholarships. Don’t stick to just one method of free money for college, and you might be able to lower the amount of debt you’ll have to take out.