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What is a Grant for College Students: Top 5, How to Get

What is a Grant for College

I’ll never forget the day I received that email—the one that said I’d been awarded a college grant.

It felt like the universe had finally tossed me a lifeline, making my dream of further education a possibility and a reality.

College grants can be that pivotal moment for many students, offering a path to education without the burden of heavy debt.

In this article, I’ll explain What is a Grant for College, how they work, and how you can get one for yourself.

What is a Grant for College?

What is a Grant for College

A grant for college is a form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid, typically awarded based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of both. It is designed to help students cover the costs of tuition, books, room and board, and other educational expenses.

Grants can come from federal and state governments, colleges, universities, and private or nonprofit organizations.

If you belong to a minority group, please refer to my College Grants for Minorities post instead.

Top 7 College Grants in 2024

These are the top 7 Grants for College in 2024:

1. Federal Pell Grants

The Federal Pell Grant is a cornerstone of federal financial aid available to undergraduate students with exceptional financial needs.

For the 2023-24 academic year, students could receive up to $7,395 depending on financial need, cost of attendance, and full-time or part-time enrollment status.

2. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

This grant is for undergraduates with the greatest need for financial aid. If you’re eligible, your college could award you between $100 and $4,000 per year with the FSEOG, but funds are limited.

3. TEACH Grants

The TEACH Grant provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who are completing or plan to complete coursework needed to begin a teaching career. You must agree to teach in a high-need field at a school serving low-income students for at least four years within eight years of completing your degree.

4. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

For students whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11, there are specific grants available.

If you are ineligible for a Pell Grant due to your Expected Family Contribution being too high, the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant might provide you with up to the maximum Pell Grant amount.

5. State Grants

State governments offer grants that require residency and attendance at an in-state school. Amounts and eligibility vary widely, so you must check with your state’s department of education. For instance, Cal Grants in California offers substantial financial assistance to eligible resident students.

6. College Career Advancement Grants

College Career Advancement Grants aim to support students entering high-demand careers like technology and healthcare. Offered by colleges or industry partnerships, these grants require recipients to work in their field of study post-graduation for a set period.

7. STEM Grants

STEM Grants are specifically designed to encourage students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These grants are crucial in promoting innovation and maintaining competitive advantage in these fields.

They can come from sources like federal and state governments, private companies, and nonprofit organizations, offering substantial support to students demonstrating interest and aptitude in STEM disciplines.

Check out this post to learn how to get STEM Grants for College.

How to Apply for Grant for College

 How to Apply for Grant for College

Follow these steps to apply for a Grant for College:

  1. Determine Your Eligibility: Assess your exceptional financial need, which is a key factor for most grants. The sooner you understand your need, the better your chances of receiving aid.
  2. Gather Necessary Documents: Prepare documents such as tax returns, bank statements, and investment records. This information is required for both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile.
  3. Complete the FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your starting point for federal grants. It assesses your financial need and eligibility for aid.
  4. Submit the CSS Profile (if required): Some colleges require the CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA to award non-federal aid based on more comprehensive financial information.
  5. Meet the Deadlines: Application deadlines vary by state and institution, but federal FAFSA deadlines generally entail a submission by June 30th for the upcoming school year, with corrections or updates needed by September.
  6. Review Your Student Aid Report: After submitting the FAFSA, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) outlining your expected family contribution (EFC) and your estimated federal aid.
  7. Apply for Institutional Grants: Check with your college’s financial aid office or website for additional grant opportunities that may require separate applications.

If you will be going to college soon, check out my post on how to get Grants for Living Expenses while in College.

Eligibility Criteria

Whats a Grant for College

These are the criteria to apply for a Grant for College:

  1. You must have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
  2. You must have Completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a fundamental step.
  3. You must have a significant financial need.

Documents Required

Documents Required to Get Grant for College

These are the documents required to get Grant for College:

  1. College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile.
  2. Tax Returns.
  3. W-2 Forms and Other Records of Income.
  4. Bank Statements.
  5. Records of Untaxed Income.

Frequently Asked Questions on What is a Grant for College

These are the frequently asked questions on what is a grant for college:

What does it mean when a college offers you a grant?

When a college offers you a grant, it means you are being given financial aid that does not require repayment. This money is typically awarded based on financial need to help cover your educational costs.

What is the most common type of grant available to college students?

The most common type of grant available to college students is the Federal Pell Grant, which is provided by the federal government to students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.

How does receiving a college grant impact a student’s financial situation?

Receiving a college grant positively impacts your financial situation by decreasing the amount you need to pay for tuition and other college expenses, potentially reducing the need to take out student loans.

What are the differences between a grant and a scholarship for college?

The main difference between a grant and a scholarship is that Grants are typically need-based and may come from various sources, including federal or state governments, while scholarships are often merit-based or for specific criteria and provided by private organizations or the college itself.

Can students apply for multiple grants, and how does that process work?

Yes, students can apply for multiple grants, and each grant program usually requires its application process.

What are the qualifications necessary to be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant?

To be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, you must demonstrate exceptional financial need, be an undergraduate student who does not already have a bachelor’s or professional degree, and meet other general federal student aid eligibility requirements.


As someone who’s navigated the maze of paying for college, I can tell you firsthand that grants can lift a huge weight off your shoulders.

With all your questions answered on What is a Grant for College, nothing can hold you back from your college dreams now.