Students apply for federal college grants by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, reports Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. Many state programs, colleges and private organizations also require a FAFSA application to assess student eligibility for aid.
The federal government offers a number of grants to students attending college, including Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, states Federal Student Aid. Additionally, state governments, colleges and career schools, nonprofits and private organizations offer grants and other forms of financial aid. While the first step in applying for any of these grants is to submit a FAFSA, non-federal sources such as state government aid offices and college financial aid offices may require students to fill out additional forms as well.
Students can fill out a FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov, according to Federal Student Aid. Alternatively, they can download and print out a copy from the FAFSA website or order a free copy from the U.S. Department of Education. Some colleges and career schools have special software available to help students fill in and submit their FAFSAs. After students submit the FAFSA, the financial aid offices of the schools they applied to determine their eligibility for grants and other aid and send them an award letter.