How Do I Apply for Federal College Grants?

Students can apply for several kinds of federal college grants by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Learn more about the FAFSA and the types of aid available. Schools offering Nonprofit Management & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Federal College Grants Overview

The FAFSA allows students to apply for Pell grants and institutional financial aid (except for school-sponsored or private scholarships). This application also determines if students are eligible for federal student loans. FAFSA forms are available at high school guidance offices or may be completed online (

Important Facts About Available Federal Grants

Type of Federal Grant Eligibility Amount Method of Payment
Federal Pell Grant Usually awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree The maximum award is $5,815 for the 2016-2017 award year Your school can apply Federal Pell Grant funds to your school costs, pay you directly, or combine these method
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Undergraduate students with exceptional financial need You can receive between $100 and $4,000 a year Your school will credit your student account, pay you directly, or combine these methods
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants Must meet the basic eligibility criteria for the federal student aid programs & plan to become a teacher in a high-need field in a low-income area Provides grants of up to $4,000 a year Disbursed through the school, timing varies
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants If your parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan, you may be eligible The grant award is equal to the amount of a maximum Federal Pell Grant for the award year but cannot exceed your cost of attendance for that award year The payment procedures are the same as those for the Federal Pell Grant

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Applying for Federal College Grants

The FAFSA must be submitted by June 30th each year in order to be eligible for aid for the next school year; however, some schools may have earlier due dates, so students should consult their schools' financial aid officers to determine when the paperwork is due.

Students applying for federal college grants should have all the appropriate forms and documents ready before completing the applications. FAFSA recommends the following steps should be completed before beginning the FAFSA application process:

  • Dependency status should be determined
  • Complete the FAFSA web worksheet
  • Complete school code search
  • Apply for student and parent pin
  • Verify application deadline dates

How Various Federal College Grant Awards Work

Federal grants are awarded in various forms. The largest federal grant is the Pell grant. Learning institutions receive grant funding and distribute this to undergraduate and some post-baccalaureate students with the greatest need. According to the U.S. Department of Education (, grant amounts are dependent on the student's family contribution and the student's enrollment status. Also taken into consideration is the institution's cost of attendance and student plans (full-time or part-time attendance). The following are common types of federal grants:

  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG): Awarded only to those students with the most financial need, this grant is usually awarded to students with a zero score on their financial aid student aid report (SAR) or those having the lowest expected family contribution (EFC).
  • Work-study programs: Such programs provide students with extreme financial need with employment on their college campus, which allows the student to earn a limited income for various educational expenses.

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