Grants / Scholarships

What is a grant?

A grant is money that does not need to be repaid and is given to students with the most financial need.

The federal government gives out two key grants: the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). To be eligible for these grants, you must fill out the FAFSA.

Pell Grant
The Pell Grant is the most common grant distributed by the federal government. Students can receive up to $5,350 a semester, but they must complete a FAFSA each year to be considered. Only U.S. Citizens or permanent residents demonstrating financial need are considered eligible.

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is only given to students with the greatest financial need. Eligible students can receive up to $2,000 a semester, but a FAFSA needs to be submitted each year. Your college may also give out special grants, but more than likely, your eligibility will be determined by the FAFSA.

TIP: Complete your income taxes as soon as possible. You’ll need this information to complete the FAFSA.

TIP: Submit your FAFSA in early February. Although the deadline is June 30 for the next school year, if you submit your FAFSA sooner, you may qualify for more financial aid.

If you are from another country:

Even if you are not eligible for federal student aid, complete and submit your FAFSA. You may be eligible for state or school financial aid, for schools that use data from the FAFSA to choose a recipient. For more information, visit the FAFSA page.


What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is similar to a grant in that it does not need to be repaid. However, not all scholarships are given out based on financial need.

General scholarships are open to everyone who is eligible, but these aren’t common. Some scholarships are awarded to students based on academic ability while others are tied  to very specific attributes race or chosen profession.

You may qualify for a scholarship from your college. You can find out about your college’s scholarships by looking in the course catalog. Some colleges may also have an Internet directory. In general, students need to apply directly to a school, foundation or private company to compete for a scholarship. The application process differs for each scholarship but usually it involves filling out an application form, writing an essay, and getting a reference. Make sure you fill out the FAFSA because some of these scholarships may be determined by financial need.

TIP: If you need help, visit your college’s financial aid counselor. She’ll show you how to                fill out   a FAFSA, and apply for grants and scholarships.

Finding Scholarships

When looking for outside scholarships, usually on the Internet, there are several places. The following websites are the most credible and reliable resources for finding scholarships. For most of these websites you will have to provide personal information such as your name, email address, and interests. This information will allow the search engine to find scholarships that meet your needs.

This website recommends national scholarship databases.

A comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools.

Tips for Applying for Scholarships

  • Write down usernames and passwords for each scholarship search website and keep this information in safe place.
  • Write down the names of the scholarships you’re eligible for and interest you.
  • Write down the deadlines for each scholarship and the materials you need to submit.

If you are incarcerated or an ex-offender:

Don’t be discouraged to apply for financial aid or college even if you have a criminal history. Most ex-offenders are still eligible. Many financial aid applications do not ask for information about your criminal history. If they do ask, you do not need to report convictions that were removed from your record. For more information on removing convictions from your record, visit the Career Exploration page.