If you’re pursuing a higher education, you may wonder if there is any help you can get financially. Dealing with all of the expenses that come with college can be intimidating. This can be especially true for individuals that don’t make a lot of income. The good news is that there are opportunities available to you. They also aren’t complicated to receive! Understanding what types of federal education grants are available is essential for low-income individuals pursuing a college degree! Grants can offer funds to help cover tuition, books, and other related costs. In turn, allowing recipients to focus on their education.
Educational Grants that Can Make Education More Affordable
It’s no secret that college is expensive. Most students consider getting outside financial help at some point of another, while pursuing a degree. Many people know that student loans are an option, but what if you don’t want to deal with too much debt after graduating? There are actually different types of grants that a student can get to help with school expenses. Grants are offered from different sources for different reasons. For example, corporations, private organizations, and state governments may offer different types of grants to students. There are typically two types of grants; need-based and merit-based. Students that receive a grant because of their respective achievements are being given a merit-based grant. Whereas, other grants are distributed based on a student’s financial situation.
Grants are beneficial because they usually do not need to be paid back. Students complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to each school year. This application allows students to see what various types of financial aid they’re eligible to receive. Other types of federal assistance can be determined based on household status, service status, job location, career status, and more.
A few different federal education grants available to students are:
The Pell Grant
The Pell Grant is awarded to students that have a financial need. Each year the maximum award changes. For the 2023 – 2024 school year, a qualifying student can receive up to $7,395! These funds can be used to cover costs of tuition, books, and other educational expenses. The Pell Grant is a vital source of aid for low-income individuals putting in the work to further their education.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant helps students with exceptional financial need. This grant offers additional funding beyond the Pell Grant, depending on availability at participating schools. This grant is also intended for undergraduate students only.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
The two previous grants are both considered need-based grants. Whereas, the TEACH grant is an example of a merit-based financial aid opportunity. This grant can provide up to $4,000 per year in financial assistance to qualifying students. These are awarded to students that are pursuing a career in teaching. Particularly those that are going to teach high-demand subjects or work in low-income schools after graduation. In exchange, recipients must commit to working full-time as teachers within specific fields and locations after finishing school.
Students May Qualify for Federal Loans
Grants are a great opportunity for students in need, however, they may not cover all of a student’s expenses. Tuition can cost tens of thousands of dollars! This is why some students may still need to rely on loans for their education costs. The Department of Education provides four different types of federally backed loans. These loans often come with additional benefits that aren’t associated with traditional private loans. The different federal loan opportunities available include the following:
- PLUS Loans
- Subsidized Loans
- Consolidation Loans
- Unsubsidized Loans
Direct PLUS Loans
PLUS Loans can cover the cost of tuition for a student after other financial aid opportunities are subtracted from the total. Applicants for this type of loan are subject to a credit check. If the applicant’s credit score is bad, then there may be other requirements involved. There are two types of PLUS loans. First, there is the direct graduate PLUS loan available to graduate or professional students. Second is the parent PLUS loan which is available to parents for tuition expenses.
Direct Subsidized Loans
Financial aid opportunities, such as the Pell Grant, that are available to low-income students may not be able to cover all of a student’s expenses. However, student loans have a reputation for including high interest rates! This is why direct subsidized loans may be a good option for financially needy students. The U.S. Department of Education covers the interest on a qualifying student’s loan during the time they’re enrolled in school. The student needs to be attending classes at least half-time. In addition to that, the DOE can also pay interest for up to six more months after leaving school (including during a period of deferment, in some circumstances).
Direct Consolidation Loans
If you are able to qualify for numerous federal loans, then it can get confusing keeping track of everything. In this situation, you might benefit from combining each of your loans together. That way you only need to keep track of one payment rather than multiple. This is what a consolidation loan is for.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
We previously highlighted subsidized loans and how they are based on a student’s financial need. However, unsubsidized loans are not. A credit check is required to be eligible for this type of loan. Another big difference is that the borrower does not receive any relief regarding interest. The interest that the loan accrues is the full responsibility of the student. The school that the applicant is attending is responsible for deciding on the loan amount. Lastly, these loans are available to a wide range of students. This includes undergraduate, graduate, and professional enrollees.
Overall, federal education grants can provide valuable financial assistance to low-income individuals seeking to further their education. When it comes to paying for college, there are numerous ways to go about paying for it.
There are financial aid opportunities available for a variety of students. For example, Pell Grants are awarded to students that have a financial need. Whereas, TEACH grants are awarded based on a student’s career path after college. In order to be eligible for any type of financial aid, students need to complete a Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA). The application needs to be submitted before each school year in order to remain eligible for any opportunities.
Financial aid is an amazing opportunity for qualifying students. However, award amounts don’t always cover all education costs that students deal with. For this reason, some students may need to take out student loans to make up for it. There are various federally backed loans that students can take advantage of. Some loans are based on financial need. Meanwhile, others require a credit check in order to qualify. It’s important to review all of the potential options before making a choice about paying for college!