Grants and scholarships are two common funding sources for students to pay for college. Student loans are also available to help pay for college expenses.
Grants and scholarships are the most popular funding sources for students because these awards don’t have to be repaid. Federal and state governments as well as private institutions, charities and nonprofit organizations offer grants and scholarships to eligible applicants. Each grant or scholarship has different requirements. Some simply require applicants to meet certain income terms, while others require students to write essays and meet application deadlines.
Federal grants include the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. These grants are based on financial need and require students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
There are thousands of scholarships available to students that are awarded based on factors including academic excellence, athletic ability, cultural or ethnic affiliation, and parents' employment. Financial aid offices provide students with information on how to find scholarships. Students can also search at a public library or look online. Applicants should beware of scams that ask for money to help students locate scholarships. These services are typically offered at no cost.