Getting government grants for education is not simple, but it is possible with persistence. If you are a parent, college is likely a concern of yours. Right now, the economy is in trouble. Many Americans are losing their jobs, losing their homes, and falling behind on other bills. If you are one of those Americans, you may wonder how you can make it through the month, let alone send your child to college. Luckily, as a parent, there is a lot of financial assistance available for you and your soon-to-be college student. In fact, three government grants can help you afford the cost of an expensive college education. What are they?
The Federal Pell Grant in 2022
The Federal Pell Grant is a well-known government grant. In fact, you may have heard of it before. If your child hasn’t already, their high school guidance counselor will soon mention it. Qualifying students are classified as low-income students. A special formula, know as the estimated family contribution, is used to determine eligibility. For independent students, this considers their income and assets. For dependent students, their parent’s income and assets, as well as family and household size are taken into consideration.
Amounts can change yearly. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,495 for the 2021–2022 award year (July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022).
The amount you get, though, will depend on
- your Expected Family Contribution,
- the cost of attendance (determined by your school for your specific program),
- your status as a full-time or part-time student, and
- your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.
Not all students receive this amount. Should your child qualify for this grant, their enrollment status and cost of education will be considered. Both part-time and full-time students at participating colleges qualify for assistance. Although $4,000 is not enough to cover a full year at most colleges, it will significantly lower the cost.
It is easy for students to apply for the Federal Pell Grant. In fact, the form used is called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In many cases, this application not only makes students eligible for federal grants, but state grants and financial aid too.
The Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
This government grant for education is a little known secret. It is unheard of by many parents and students. It was added in 2006 as part of the Higher Education Reconciliation Act. This grant is for first and second year undergraduate students. First year students are eligible to receive up to $750 and second year students are eligible to receive up to $1,300.
As with the Federal Pell Grant, not everyone qualifies for the ACG. Students must be undergraduates, be United States citizens, qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, have completed a strong high school program of study, and must have at least a 3.0 GPA for the academic year.
Students can use the FAFSA application to determine eligibility and get the process started.
The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant
This grant is also a little known secret. It was also added due to the 2005 Higher Education Reconciliation Act. Otherwise known as the National SMART Grant, it is designed for third, forth, and fifth year undergraduate students. Students are eligible to receive up to $4,000 a year.
To qualify for this grant, students must be United States citizens, be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, and have at least a 3.0 GPA for the year. Most importantly, part-time or full-time enrollment is required for a major program in life or computer sciences, technology, critical foreign language, mathematics, or physical.
The official FAFSA website encourages interested students to speak to financial aid officers at school for information regarding this grant, including an application.