You are certainly not alone if you feel that the cost of a higher education puts your dreams of a degree out of reach, that is why there are a range of Federal, State and private need based grants available for students. Very few people can afford to pay all of their costs upfront. Some students will find that their family income may not qualify them for sufficient loan funds to cover all of their educational expenses. On top of that, loans need to be repaid after graduation and it is a sad start to your working life to be burdened with a high level of debt.
Need based grants do not have to be paid back and are awarded on the basis of a student’s current economic and social status. When determining which students will be given these need based grants, the student’s family situation is considered in terms of what they are able to contribute and the number of dependent family members intending to study at university level.
Federal need based grants are administered through your institution and your enrolment status, the academic requirements of your course and any conditions to be met after graduation are taken into account. Some grants such as the TEACH program (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) require a commitment from you to work for four years after graduation in schools serving low-income families.
Your financial aid office on campus will be able to point you in the right direction through the process of applying for need based grants. All students should complete a FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid), which enable you to apply for the Federal Pell Grant and FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant) that are awarded on the basis of serious financial need.
You may also be eligible to apply for the Federal Work Study Program, which is a type of grant that involves you working on campus in some capacity. Your course load may affect your eligibility for this program but it doesn’t hurt to inquire as you may also find you gain new skills while you support your studies.
Private organizations also offer financial aid but they tend to be tied to academic achievement rather than being needs based grants. You might consider instead spending some time researching the grants offered in your own local community such as Regional Scholarships and Voucher Programs that are offered at a State level. Students who belong to community organizations or who have a religious affiliation may find that there is financial aid for students from low-income families who belong to those groups.
Perhaps most importantly, you should get yourself in the right frame of mind and be determined to find a way to achieve your goals. The right attitude shining through in your applications for need based grants can go a long way to impressing a grant panel, after all where there is a will there is a way.
Access to need based grants puts the power of education and the keys to success in your hands.