Understand Grants

Research grant options that may be available to help you finance your education.

If you're planning for college and need financial assistance, you will want to find out if you are eligible for grants. Grants are available to many qualifying students and do not require repayment.

Who awards grants and what determines eligibility?

Many different sources award grant money to students — including the federal and state governments. The government and the financial aid office determine a student's eligibility for a grant, and the amount of the award, based primarily on the student's financial need.

Federal Grants

There are several types of federal grants available for qualifying students

  • Federal Pell Grants are awarded to eligible undergraduates pursuing their first bachelor's or professional degree. Students enrolled in teacher certification or licensing programs may also be eligible. The actual award amount — which can be as much as $5,550 for the 2012-2013 award year — is based on Cost of Attendance (COA), Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and enrollment status. For more information on Cost of Attendance (COA) and Expected Family Contribution (EFC), visit AIE's "Understand the Aid Application Process" page.
  • The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is also awarded to eligible students pursuing their fist bachelor's or professional degree. Unlike Pell Grants, FSEOG is not portable — so it can't be transferred to any college. FSEOGs are awarded annually and typically range between $100 and $4,000. Furthermore, if you are awarded a Pell Grant, you'll be given priority for the FSEOG.
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants are awarded to eligible undergraduate and graduate students and students enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher credential program. Students must meet academic achievement requirements which include scoring above the 75th percentile on a college admissions test or maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25. The TEACH Grant program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete coursework needed to begin a career in teaching. Undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students may not receive more than $16,000 and graduate students may receive no more than $8,000 in total TEACH Grants.  TEACH Grant recipients must agree to serve as a full-time teacher at specified schools and teach in a specified field for four academic years within eight years after completing the college course. If the TEACH service requirements are not fulfilled, the grant converts to an Direct unsubsidized loan which must be repaid in full including interest accrued from the day the grant was received.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service (IAS) Grants provide money to help pay education expenses for an eligible college or career school student whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan. The grant award is equal to the amount of a maximum Federal Pell Grant for the award year but cannot exceed the student's cost of attendance for that award year. For more information about the IAS Grant, visit the Federal Student Aid's IAS Grant page.

Other grant sources

Grants may also be available through the college you attend or other sources, such as alumni associations and corporate sponsorships. These grants may be based on a student's major, interests, and academic success.

State grants

Some states also have their own grant programs. For instance, California offers Cal Grants for California residents attending a California college or university. To learn more about Cal Grants, visit the Cal Grant website (www.calgrants.org).

The AIE "State Education Resources" pages contain links to state-related resources, including state grants.

Other grant sources

Grants may also be available through the college you attend or other sources, such as alumni associations and corporate sponsorships. These grants may be based on a student's major, interests, and/or academic success.

How do I determine my financial need?

It's easy — complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and list the school that you plan to attend on the form; your school will receive the results of your application. Through just this one form , your school has all the information it needs to determine your eligibility for a grant and other kinds of financial aid.

How much grant money can I get?

It depends on how much it costs for you to attend a particular school, whether you are a part-time or a full-time student, and whether you attend school for a full academic year or less. The amount awarded also depends on when you apply, your level of financial need, and the funding level of the school you're attending. If you qualify for a grant, it could be $100 or several thousand dollars per year.

Still need more info?

For more information about grants and other forms of financial aid, contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend, or talk to your high school counselor. You can also contact TG's financial aid experts toll-free at (800) 845-6267.

Here are other documents located on AIE.org that you may be interested in: