School Grants

When it comes to paying for your post secondary education, nothing beats school grants. For one, you don’t have to pay them back (unlike student loans), and secondly, they are usually doled out without the expectation of scholastic performance (unlike a scholarship, for instance).

From the student’s perspective, this makes grant funding one of the most desirable means of paying for his or her continuing education.

These days, obtaining a post secondary education is critical step to obtaining a well-paying, sustainable career. At the same time, it has become prohibitively expensive to do so. Accordingly there are a number of grant programs and funding sources in place that can be accessed by almost anyone willing to get educated.

Let’s take a look at some of the essential information necessary to get school grants and make your education something affordable.

Who is Eligible for School Grants?

The basic principle here is that any citizen who can demonstrate “financial need” is eligible for a grant. However, what financial need means differs somewhat from grant to grant. Basically, it is based on the yearly income either of the School Grantsindividual seeking to enroll in the school program, or the individual’s family income (i.e. parents).

As we go over the various grant programs currently available, we’ll also take a look at what some of the eligibility requirements. Chances are that unless you or your family are really doing quite well financially (which is less and less common in these troubled economic times), you are eligible for some sort of grant.

Which ones will depend on the specifics of your financial situation as well as the school(s) to which you are applying.

How Does One Apply?

The simplest way to apply for a large majority of available state and federal grants is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The FAFSA form can be found online and more details about it can be found here! It can also be picked up in paper form at many different locations such as universities, libraries, legal offices, and so on. The FAFSA is the basic way that state and federal government find out about and processes your financial status so that they can determine your eligibility for grants.

school grants resources The FAFSA has several sections. In the first section you fill out basic information such as your name and social security number, address, and so on. The next section requires you to answer questions regarding your dependency status (the majority of people applying for school grants are young and still dependent on their parents). The third section requires you to answer questions about the income situation of the parents, and the fourth section asks for information on the income/tax status of the student himself or herself.

Obviously, for people no longer dependent on parents, the third section is not important, and the fourth section is where all the relevant financial information is supplied. Various documents such as your tax returns and proof of income are needed to complete the FAFSA (there is a worksheet that goes along with the form to help you gather all the right documents before hand).

Types of Grants Available – Back to top

There are a number of school grant programs available in the U.S. Two of the main federal grant programs are PELL grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) grants. In addition there are other grant sources which include state grants available in the student’s state of residence, scholarships given by private foundations and organizations, and grants given by the educational institutions themselves.

Pell Grants  (Back to top)

Pell grants are one of the most common and widely accessed type of federal school grant, and are funded by the U.S. department of education. This type of grant was originally called the Basic Education Opportunity Grant program and was named after Claiborne Pell, a US senator from Rhode Island. While the amount of Pell grant money issued has been steadily rising (in 2010-11 the maximum grant will be $5,550, up from $4,050 in 2006-7), the fact that tuition are also steadily rising means that it now covers less of the tuition than it used to. It currently covers about 30% of tuition on average while in 1990 it was around 60%.

The eligibility for Pell grant is based on what is called Expected Family Contribution, which is an assessment of how much either the student or more commonly the student’s family can contribute to education costs for the school year being applied for. Again, this information is accessed from the FAFSA – simply filling out the form and stating that you want to be considered for a Pell grant is all that is required to apply for one.

Some of the nice things about Pell grants is that the amount of grant money never runs out – the more students apply the more money is allocated, you can be reimbursed for tuition money you’ve already paid, and you can adjust the amount you are applying for in response to changes in financial status.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity (FSEOG) Grants (Back to top)

FSEOG grants are similar to Pell grants in that they are federal and are based on financial need. These grants are done in tandem with the school a student is applying for. The government puts up 75% of the grant amount awarded and the school provides the remaining 25%. The eligibility is also arrived at from information on the FAFSA form and again, this is the main way to apply for them. A few other stipulations are that you must be a U.S. citizen, you must not already have a Bachelor’s degree, you can’t have had an overpayment of a federal Pell grant, and you can’t be in default on any educational loan.

More information on the FSEOG can be found here!

State Grants (Back to top)

Virtually all states have their own school grant programs. It is very easy to find out about them by consulting our exclusive state by state listing of available programs. Although your eligibility for some of these will be determined after you submit your FAFSA, applying for some of these grants require submitting separate forms. These can be accessed either be from the school in question or from the grant program’s website. They are then submitted prior to the beginning of the school year.

Grants and Scholarships Given by Private Foundations or Educational Institutions  (Back to top)

There are all kinds of foundations that give grants to students based on financial need, often along with good academic performance on the part of the student. These grants are known as scholarships. They may have various criteria other than simple financial need and good grades – sometimes they are for, say, underprivileged minority groups, students studying a particular field (for instance, electronic technology), and so on. Check our listing of state grants and scholarships and you will find many of these available programs.

Scholarships can often be secured from the very school a student is attending. If you have good grades and clear financial need, you may be eligible for one. Simply check with your school’s financial aid department and they can tell you all about scholarship eligibility.

Primary and Secondary School Grants (Back to top)

It should be noted that the above discussion has mainly been about grants for post secondary education – i.e. the college or university level. There are also grants/scholarships available for children attending private school at the secondary (high school) or even primary educational levels. These grants are a bit harder to find, but nevertheless many programs exist.

Probably the best advice here is to talk to the financial aid administrator of the school to which your child is applying. They can tell you all about both the grant and scholarship opportunities of the school itself, and of various foundations and government programs that you can apply to. You can also check with your state’s department of education.

If you want to go to school, the grant money is, more often than not, there. If you are truly wealthy enough not to qualify for any grant money, chances are you won’t be searching for grants anyway. So rest assured that if a grant seems like it will be necessary to help you out with education costs, you’ll probably be eligible for one. It may not cover the entire cost of your tuition, but the more effort you put into finding a series of grants (rather than just one) the more of your educational costs you can potentially fund.

The first step is apply to go for the main “big” grants – the federal grants listed above, plus whatever is available at the state level. For that, the key is submitting your FAFSA as early as possible in year you wish to attend school. After that is done, begin making a big list of all the more private grant sources available – everything from scholarships from your school, to private foundations, to even websites. When you’re done you should have a large list of potential sources. Simply apply to them all, and see what happens. If you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself with a good, substantial proportion of your education taken care of. Good luck!

Helpful Links (Back to top)

FAFSA web site


  1. This article is very informative from top to bottom. Anyone who is going through the scholarship finder process will definitely be happy to read such article. The article manages to provide pertinent information from different scholarship and grant programs to eligibility requirements and application forms. I have read plenty of articles about scholarships and grants, but I haven’t read anything about the FAFSA form. In the article, it was even tackled in a very detailed manner. Overall, I find the article very helpful for people who are truly into finding the best scholarship or grant program. I wish to read more articles like this.

  2. Rob looking for a Scholarship Finder says

    This is one of the most informative scholarship and grant articles I’ve read today. This is an excellent scholarship finder as it does not only embark on some scholarships and grants; it also tackles eligibility and application requirements and that’s a very good thing. I like how things are explained in this article. Everything seems to be clear. With proper understanding, interested applicants will never get lost with this post. With proper preparation, I know this can also lead students to the right path. This is certainly a good read. I also hope to encounter more articles like this.

  3. Jennifer Nanteza says

    Am a female ugandan lady looking for a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree.
    I dont have funds to sponser my education so that’s why am witing to ask for a scholarship.


    went to university in nigeria came out with o third class honours was just wondering if i could get help an how do i go about it am british born just have no clue really want to make something with myn life

  5. I’m a former police officer that was involved in a traffic accident, off duty, that left me a parapaligic. I currently have a Bachlers Degree in Criminal Justice and would like to earn a Masters Degree in education so I could start to teach Criminal Justice classes at the college level. I’m hopeing to find a grant that will pay for this as I am currently only paid by disability and there is no money left for school. Any help would be appreciated.

  6. Ramasubramanian Raman says

    Respected Grants officer,


    I need books to study chess though I am a strong player I need to make it to the national level. Unlike to others: need a lot of books like a scholar perusing research materials: need funds to buy books, chess clock , chess computer and chess software – or if someone could send me a hundred detailed chess books,and other things mentioned I will become the best player.

    • grantofficer says

      Hello Raman,
      We do not provide grants for chess books and other chess utilities. I highly recommend you search for various free chess books available at Gutenber Project. You can also check chess sites on the internet that share tips.

  7. Sadekya Foundations says

    I think that scholarships provided especially to deserving students in this manner is a yeoman’s service provided.

  8. This is precisely what a lot of students need at this time of economic hardships. Scholarship grants can be a blessing.

  9. Lori Johnson says

    I am wondering about the different types of grants or scholarships available to me. I am a resident of Sacramento and am going to school for massage therapy. I have a 4.0 GPA and am on the presidents list for my school. Any direction you could point me in would be a great help.


    Am a male Tanzanian, looking for a fund or grants to pursue a master’s degree.
    I dont have funds to sponser my education so that’s why am looking to ask for grants from your organization.currently am located in Dodoma Tanzania.

  11. This is a very wonderful article I’ve come across. Very well written and organized and it has really made the school and educational grant process absolutely clear in my mind. Now I know how many kinds of them exist and how to apply for them but what I still don’t need though – is that what are the sources I can find all these grants at one place from ???

  12. hello, i’m samuel from Nigeria. i read power enginerring. but still i wanna further my education to master’s…. i was wondering if i could get a scholarship to keep going….. God Bless…………

  13. Many thanx and a big ‘thumbs up,’ for covering a much needed topic in an informative and well-thought out article! At 55 and pretty much bored out of my skull with hearing: “overqualifed” as well as the unspoken “too old,” I’ve finally decided to take a look at going back to school. I was scared out of my mind! I only managed to get as far as obtaining my PIN# for FASFA when a grant-writing opportunity surfaced. Needless to say, I jumped on it.

    However, I’ve now become curious enough to complete the process. The way the recruiter explained it made me anxious about trying to complete it on my own. But after reading your article, I think I’m going to give it a try and then ask for help if I need it!

    Although I’m no longer interested in working for someone else, I believe that higher education will only help me in my pursuit of setting up several business ventures for myself! Thank you for encouraging me to action1

  14. I am a nail tech, desiring to become an esthetician in Mississippi. Are grants available for cosmetology or esthetician educational pursuits?


    Am Mwesigwa Jairus from Rukungiri Uganda.Am a female aged 16 years and I completed my Ordinary level at Kigezi High School PO BOX 58 KABALE UGANDA am one of the 10 siblings of my dad and am looking for your support in order to continue with my studies.
    My father strives to look for school fees because the salary is not enough thus rendering him to remain to acquire more debts.
    Thank you very much.looking forward to receiving your kind feed back.
    Best regards.
    Yours faithfully
    Mwesigwa Jairus

  16. mutegyki Andrew says

    BY name mutgyeki Andrew , I am an orphan I am just done with my senior one with a single mother who cannot raise enough money to cater for my school fees.
    We are only two kids in our family were by am the last born and i go to Seroma Christian high school and my request is to kindly give me support to complete my studies.Am looking forward to receiving your support.


  17. Eliphas Yunus Buyungu says

    I am a Tanzanian qualified accountant looking for fund to pursue Masters in Business Administration
    thank you for assistance

  18. Find Grants says

    I am a university student. My monthly expenditures are $1000. Can i get grant for my higher studies.

  19. Pat - Looking for non-federal grant says

    Great article! I have been looking at going to school for the last several months but I have been denied a federal grant and financial aid due to not being registered with Selective Services. I am in the process of disputing the letter to see if they can issue me financial aid. I was wondering if there are any organizations that offer non-federal grants, and what the process would be to obtain that.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you. Thank you for your time.

  20. Row Craven says

    I have a bachelors degree in History. I am presently in Hatti building shelters for the earthquake victims and will complete the year commitment in March, 2011 to return home to Nashville, Tenn. I’ve been emailing a trade school about getting an associates degree in welding and told there are no grants available for me because I have a college degree. I am still paying off college loans (no late payments) and do not want to go in anymore debt. I gave up a high paying desk job four years ago for my own sanity. I have to be outside working with my hands for happiness. I am 28 and would like to start April 13th of this year at Miller-Motte in Nashville. My income for 2009 was under $3000. and 2010 was $18,000. I don’t have a job lined up when I return in March yet. Is there any scholarships or grants available. Thank you for your assistance. Richard

  21. Macking Thompson says

    Please am a student who has complete my Basic Education-seeking to further
    on, But due to lack of Finance which has prevented me from schooling.
    This has been one of Pain Life in our Family, which you complete with Good
    Grade but you can`t further on Due to Finance.

    Please i may then Apply for Aid in my Schooling…,HELP.
    Thank you.

  22. I am in cambodia. Grade 10. i want to get a scholarship for highschool. Could you tell me where i get?

  23. i am 21 yrs old and no longer live at home i live with my boyfriend and am tryin to go back to school i have a baby on the way and im tryin to find a grant that would help me out with out asking my parents information because they are not willing to help me out with going to school since i no longer live them and i havent lived with them for 2 years is there any grants that dont ask for my parents information? i live in houston texas please email me back if you know of any grants like that thank you

  24. I absolutely love driving, and want to go to truck driving school. Where and how can I apply for a $7000 grant, and what are my chances of recieving one? BTW, I’m 47 yo if that matters.

  25. Akam Raoul Ndifor says

    Hello my name is Akam Raoul
    i wish to apply for scholarship for an undergraduate program in accounting or economics.
    its 4yrs today i completed high but unable to prusue my dreams of one day becoming and auditor.I’m a Cameroonian and live in Yaounde, the capital city

  26. Thanks for this article.I have just been offered admission for a masters degree at Institute of Petroleum Studies(IPS),University of port harcourt,Rivers state,Nigeria and the fees are beyond my parent reach.Am asking if there is any organization that i can approach for grants. Thanks alot..

  27. Can someone please share information on acquiring financial assistance for my daughter’s primary school education?

  28. Makiyah Faison says

    Good Afternoon,

    I am Makiyah Faison. I am attending school at UMES studying Human Ecology with a major in fashion merchandising with a minor in business administration. I have six siblings and though I submitted a request for financial aid I was denied due to the combined income of my parents. My parents cannot afford to pay for tuition (out-of-state) dorm fees, books etc. I plan on obtaining a job to assist but working part time I won’t be able to contribute much. What grants are available to me? Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

    Kind Regards

  29. Dr.chandana sarkar says

    Sir, we are non profitable organisation (NGO) registered under the societies act-21 of 18
    60, and FCRA in India under the Ministry of Home Affairs Govt. of India.We are seeking grant for School…In INDIA

  30. Alloch William Akoll says

    Originating from Uganda, one of the vulnerable countries in Africa, I am highly impressed by the generosity that you have on the peole that need education worldwide! There are many people in this world that cannot afford the level of education of their academic ability, but you have fitted yourselves to a full width of thier inability to provide a solutin of surprises and dreams . What a blessing to the beneficiaries!.

    On my part, I opened a Nursery and prinmary school in which I am providing similar support as you do though the capacity in very minimal. We are currently supporting 200 children in this school.

    My humble request is, may you extend your support to our school so that we increase the capacity of children and families that we support. The type of support we require is for classrooms construction, text books, Laboratory equipment and food for the most vulnerable ones.

    Your support to us would create an outreach of your support which is situated within the needy children/persons.

    I shall send to you all our detils according to your request.


    Alloch William Akoll

  31. okiria andrew says

    im currently at ndejje university in uganda and finding it very hard to pay my own tuition since iam an orhphan without both parents,i even missed semester one examinations because i did not complete the fees ,please help me.thank you

  32. mrs king says

    my daughter is in her senior year and wants to go into a nursing program when she graduates. my husband has been layed off from his job for about 9 month so i was wondering how i would go about getting some kind of aid for my daughter. any help would be appreciated thanks mrs. king

  33. I am enrolled and been through my financial planning but I am $4,000 short for my first 9 months. I have to have all this figured out by April 1st so I can begin class on April 11th. I need help!!!!

    Sir, I am in need of finance to set up Orphanage Home as well as School as many of my locality orphan children loiter without going to school and no body is there to care and teach them. I call them everyday and give them teaching. They are really good and pitiful. I want to set up Home for them and also learning place(school). please help me.

  35. Douneithang Joute says

    I am orphan, when i was 3yrs old, i lost my father, he died of cancer, after which i stay in one house to another and earn for my living, I wash clothes and help, the place where i stay by giving pig food everyday. with the money i start going school, with much difficulty i struggle and finished my X standard Education. Now I want to pursue for further studies. Please help me. I pray to God, One day He’ll help me.

  36. Did you know that over 9 million American students receive free financial aid of up to $5,500 each year? This is thanks to the the Pell Grant that was created in 1972 and originally named the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant (BEOG). In 1980, the grant was renamed to the Pell Grant thanks to Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) who was the pioneer of the entire concept. Pell Grants are awarded to low income undergraduate college or university students who are citizens or eligible non-citizens of America. Students can use their Pell grant funding at approximately 6,000 post-secondary institutions across America. Pell grants do not have to be repaid & funding is dependent on the student’s expected family contributions, cost of attending a post-secondary institution, whether the student attends full or part time, and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less.

  37. I am currently a student struggling to pay my way through the ridiculous tuition of pharmacy school. I already have a bachelor’s degree which I received as a backup because you never know what life can bring. Having this degree under my belt seems to be more of a hurdle than anything when looking for funding from the government. I was wondering if you could guide me to where I could go for grants for financially limited graduates? Great informative website, by the way.