Student grants are almost always awarded to those with financial need, reports Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, specific federal, state, college and private grants have eligibility criteria to pinpoint who receives priority for aid.
Student grants are gifts of money for students to use in furthering their education, as opposed to loans which must be repaid, according to Federal Student Aid. As of 2015, Federal Pell Grants are awarded for up to 12 semesters to students in need who have not yet achieved a bachelor's or graduate degree. The amount of the grant is based on the degree of financial need, the cost of tuition and whether the student is enrolled full time or part time.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are awarded to students in extreme financial need, often as a supplement to a Federal Pell Grant, explains Federal Student Aid. Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants are awarded to those studying to become elementary or secondary school teachers and who agree to teach low-income students for four years after graduation.
Students applying for federal grants, as well as most state, college and private grants, must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, reports Federal Student Aid. They must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens. Incarceration or conviction for a drug or sexual offense limits or negates eligibility for federal grants. Once students are awarded grants, they must fill out a FAFSA every year to remain eligible.