To get an idea on how college grants work lets take a look at this basic example on how to get a Pell grant for college.
The Pell Grant is a need-based federal financial aid program for college students. Grant amounts vary according to need, but can be as high as $3,000, and better yet, they don't have to be repaid.
Things You’ll Need: Applications For Pell Grants, Internet Access, Computers, Word-processing Software
- Make sure you're eligible for consideration. You are if you're enrolled in college and have not yet received a bachelor's degree. (You'll only get a Pell Grant if you meet the needed criteria; grades don't matter.)
- Apply early. The deadline isn't until spring of the year for which you seek funding, but money is only available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Gather key financial documents: tax returns and W2s from the previous tax year (or your parents' forms, if you're their dependent), driver's license, recent bank statements.
- Get a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from your school counselor's office or your financial aid office. Fill it out and send it in.
- Carefully review the Student Aid Report (SAR) that you'll receive in response to your FAFSA.
- The SAR will tell you if you're eligible for a Pell Grant, and if so, for how much money.
- Follow the instructions on the SAR for claiming your Pell Grant money.
Every year the Federal Reserve produces money and then loans it to the government. Congress then apportions and redistributes the money throughout the economy in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships. The government has appropriated $68 billion in grants and loans for education this year, $12 billion going specifically for Pell grants.
When you are awarded a Pell grant the free money does not get sent directly to you. Instead the free money is sent directly to your college to fund your education. Any money leftover will then be given to you by your college at the end of the semester.
You see, you don't actually get the government grant money sent directly to your home in the form of a check as some unscrupulous marketers would like you to believe. Yes, these government grants are created to benefit individuals, but they don't give the money directly to you. Government grants benefit you by providing free funding for the service it is you are seeking, in this case, free college.
Getting private college grants, loans, and scholarships is very easy for you to do. You just have to know who to ask. Sounds simple enough, right?
Well it's not. To put it as simply as possible, the individuals and organizations that offer these grants, loans, and scholarships for college do not spend a lot of time going out to the countless scholarship directories to post information on the scholarships they are offering. They will not seek you out, you have to seek them out!
Over $12 billion will fund the Pell grant program this year, and that's just one program! There is so much money out there for college students alone it's almost funny how so many people don't know how to take advantage of these financial aid programs!
If you receive a grant, loan, and or scholarship for college you can use the money for any college expense! This includes books, tuition, a new computer, gas for your car so you can get to your classes.