Your Guide to Understanding Educational Grants


Are you thinking about enrolling in a college or university, but can’t afford it? Whether you are a high school graduate or are planning on going back to school, you should not worry about the finances. There are many ways that you can afford going to college or university. (Or, going back to college.) You can always apply for a student loan or look into scholarships that could relieve the financial burden. However, student loans are known to accumulate over the years and are discouraging to students after graduation. This is why you should consider educational grants. They will help you out and you do not have to worry about paying back the money. (Sounds like a dream come true. That is because it is.)

How To Find The Right Sources For Educational Grants

It is a little hard to find financial resources for your undergraduate and graduate programs. Even if you have a savings plan, it may cover your financial needs and tuition. This is why you should consider looking for educational grants that will provide financial relief for your current conundrum. The average cost of a four-year college ranges between $20,000 to $30,000 per year and you can expect the prices to increase later on. Nowadays, most college funds are a combination of savings, scholarships, student loans, and grants. You should keep in mind that educational grants are not the same as student loans or scholarships.

Is There a Difference Between College Grants and Scholarships or Student Loans?

With college grants, you will not need to repay the funds. On the other hand, student loans are required to be repaid. College grants and scholarships are very similar, but there is one major difference. Scholarships are granted based on needs or merits, while college grants are designed based on needs only. If you plan on applying for a college grant, you should make sure that you are eligible. To find out if you are eligible, you need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Typically, college grants award free funds that can be used for different purposes. You can use it for educational expenses or general purposes. Additionally, you can find college grants that are geared towards specific target groups.

Federal Grants

Federal grants are programs that offer college students financial aid to help pay for college. You will find that federal grant programs are considered an essential financial aid tool for students in the United States. The federal government funds federal grant programs and the United States Department of Education administers and distributes the grants to students. As your first step in seeking financial aid, you should consider looking through the available federal grant programs.

There are currently three available federal grant programs for United States students. These three federal grants are: the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and the Federal TEACH Grant. Each grant offers financial aid with different eligibility requirements. But, they all share the common goal; to help students with financial assistance.

State Grants

In every state in the union, there is a Department of Higher Education. This Department follows-up and provides regulations on secondary educational institutions within the state. You will find that most states provide students many different forms of financial aid to help them pursue college. This could be through the Department of Higher Education or through the Student Assistance Commission. Most scholarships and grant programs are typically found at the state level, and are supported by state and local taxes. The state government funds these college grants, whose goal is to assist low-income students with financial relief. Additionally, these state-funded grants provide encouragement to minority students and women to pursue higher education.

State grants vary from one state to another, but you should refer to the State Supported Grants and Scholarships section for an overview on the grants available in your state.

Non-Governmental Grants

Hard to believe, but you can find grants in the private sector. Many college students reach the end of the line and are unable to find financial aid in state or federal grants. When that happens, you should consider non-governmental grants. There are companies and associations that provide grants for students who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in fields that are related to the corporation or association. You might also find financial aid with religious organizations and community service associations. However, you have to make sure that you meet the required criteria. (If all else fails, then you can always look for grants in your college or university. Shockingly, they want to help you too!)

Different Types of Grants

You will find that there are some college grant programs that are available for all students. There are no necessary requirements on your background or your field of study. These grants are known as General Grants, which focus on your financial need and your academic performance. There are four main types of grants, which are: student grants, subject-specific grants, degree-specific grants, and minority-specific grants. With degree-specific grants, it is divided into subcategories, which are undergraduate degree grants and graduate degree grants.

It would be best that you apply for all forms of grants and not just one specific type of grant. You have a better chance of being accepted when you apply for different grants.

Student Grants

With the growing student population in the United States, you will find that grants are focusing on benefiting a specific student group to deal with their financial needs. A lot of students are planning for college or university to enhance their education and help their career prospects. The most common student-specific grant programs include: non-traditional, military and their dependents, and low-income or culturally disadvantaged students. Non-traditional students refer to students who are planning on going back to college. If you have had an event in your life that led you to discontinue your education and you decided to get back into the game, then you are in luck. There are many grants that will try to provide financial relief for your college or university expenses.

Subject-Specific Grants

With subject-specific grants, they focus on pursuing specific fields of interest or career goals. Typically, you will find that these programs try to encourage and support students who are interested in specific subjects. Most of these programs include an interest in mathematics, healthcare, education, or sciences. Subject-specific grants have many different sponsors. These sponsors include: Federal government, state government, and the private sector. As mentioned above, subject-specific grants focus on particular fields of interests. This is because colleges and universities want to improve certain industries, such as the STEM industry and healthcare. One of the main factors to be eligible is that you should enroll in one of the subjects of interest.

Degree-Specific Grants

The degree-specific grants focus on the type of degree that you plan to pursue. You might find that there are grants that are degree-specific on a general level. While there are other grants that cater to a specific field of interest. There are two types of degree-specific grants: undergraduate degree grants and graduate degree grants. If you pay close attention, you will notice that graduate degree grants are more competitive than undergraduate degree grants. (Keep that in mind while you are applying for a graduate degree grant and good luck.)

You can find both of these grants available mostly with the colleges and universities that you plan to enroll in.

Undergraduate Degree Grants

Undergraduate grants make up a large portion of the financial aid world. Most of these programs offer general grants for students, regardless of their degree or career goals. However, you might find an undergraduate grant that targets a specific type of student. Sponsors of undergraduate students include: the federal government, the state government, or the private sector. But, colleges or universities are the main and most significant source for undergraduate grants.

Graduate Degree Grants

Graduate degree grants are hard to get, since it is a very competitive component of financial aid. Most graduate degree grants focus on accepting students who are familiar with research, in order to complete their degree. You might find that graduate degree grants are referred to as fellowships, which colleges and universities offer to the best and brightest. However, you should keep in mind that these graduate degree grants focus solely on academic performance and achievement. Of course, financial need is an important factor. But, academic performance and achievement is the main priority.

Minority-Specific Grants

The final type of grant is minority-specific grants which aim to help minority groups.  Typically, these grants focus on helping minority groups and women that have been under-represented in the American education system. The federal government, the state government, and the private sector sponsor minority-specific groups. Sometimes, you might find minority-specific groups offered in colleges and universities.


In conclusion, if you are planning on going to college or university (or going back) then you should not give up. There is hope for you, yet.