Federal Grants For Undergraduate Students - NOTE: This is the fifth article in the Financial Aid Basics series. Here we learn more about federal financial aid for college students. We've looked at the three main types of federal college aid and answered some important questions about them.
In Part 1 of our Financial Aid Basics series, we learned that there are three main types of federal financial aid programs: student loans, student grants, and work-study.
Federal Grants For Undergraduate Students
We took an in-depth look at the different types of student loans in a previous article. Next time we will cover the Federal Work Study program. So, here we will focus on the federal financial aid available to students.
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In this article, we'll answer some basic questions about college aid and learn about the three main types of federal college aid: PELL grants, FSEOG, and TEACH grants.
Although all three grants come from the same source (the federal financial aid system), the requirements for each grant are quite different.
The federal college aid system can be confusing, so we've given each type of aid its own section here. But first, let's start by answering a basic question: What exactly is a grant?
A college grant is a form of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. This is the biggest difference between grants and student loans. You have to repay your loan, whereas you usually don't have to repay a grant.
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Like federal student loans, federal aid is usually provided directly to the school you attend. The school uses the grant for tuition, books and other costs in your student account. After paying your bill to the University, you will receive any remaining monies through your financial aid payment.
Federal college grants are need-based financial aid. Grants are often offered to students from families with the lowest incomes, but that's not the only consideration. The government also takes into account the size of a family and the number of children going to university at the same time.
As with all financial aid, to be eligible for federal college aid, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The government uses the information on your FAFSA to determine your eligibility for financial aid programs.
Even if you think your family earns too much to qualify for financial aid, you should still fill out the FAFSA. Some of the other factors mentioned may qualify you for grant assistance.
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There are three main types of federal financial aid available to students: the PELL Grant, FSEOG, and TEACH Grant. Each of these grant types is discussed in their respective sections below.
The federal government also provides Iraq and Afghanistan service grants. These apply only to students whose military parents died while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001.
To qualify for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, students must be 24 years of age or younger at the time of their parent's death. They also do not have to be eligible for PELL funding. This means that if a student is eligible for the PELL bursary based on income, they will not be able to receive the Iraq and Afghanistan service bursary.
PELL grants are only available to students who have not yet earned a bachelor's or professional degree. If you have a four-year degree but are returning to school for other vocational training, you will not be eligible for the PELL Grant. You also cannot get PELL grants if you are in graduate school.
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You can only receive PELL funding from one school at a time. For example, if you attend college full-time but take night classes at a community college, you can only receive PELL funding from one school.
In addition to these requirements, eligibility for the PELL Grant is based on your financial need and your school's estimated cost of attendance.
Currently (as of 2019), the maximum amount you can receive in a PELL grant is $5,920 per year. You may get less depending on your school's cost of attendance. You may also get less if you only enroll part-time.
You can receive a PELL bursary for up to 12 semesters, or approximately six years. If you don't graduate within six years, you won't get any more PELL money.
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If you drop out of school while receiving your PELL grant, you may have to repay the money. You may also have to return your PELL funds if you received enough scholarships and other grants to cover your total cost of attendance.
The other major income-based federal grant program is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, or FSEOG. FSEOG is for students with extreme financial need.
PELL grants are administered by the federal government. The government guarantees that you will receive the full amount of PELL funding approved based on your financial need. In contrast, FSEOG programs are administered by individual schools. This means that schools, not the government, distribute FSEOG to students.
Each school in the FSEOG program receives a certain amount of funding from the federal government each year. Once a school has spent all of its FSEOG funds for the year, there is no way to get more. Therefore, unlike the PELL program, students are not guaranteed a certain amount of FSEOG funding.
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If a student applies too late, the FSEOG funds may disappear and he or she may not receive any money at all. Here's another reason you should file your FAFSA early.
Currently (2019), students can receive up to $4,000 in FSEOG funding per year. Students who are eligible for PELL grants will be prioritized for FSEOG.
Participation in the FSEOG program is voluntary and not all colleges and universities have FSEOG. This should be considered when applying to schools. If you think or know that you are eligible to participate in FSEOG, please make sure that the school you want to attend participates in the program. If not, you can decline $4,000 in annual free financial aid.
If you get FSEOG to pay for college, make sure the school you attend is participating in the scheme. Otherwise, you can decline $4,000 in annual free financial aid.
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The College and Higher Education Teacher Education Assistance (TEACH) Grant is available to students who plan to teach in elementary or secondary schools. Unlike other federal college bursaries, the TEACH bursary is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.
Students receiving TEACH grants must teach full-time in low-income schools for at least four years after graduation. They must also teach in high-need areas, such as science, mathematics, or special education.
Like the FSEOG program, school participation in the TEACH program is voluntary. Not all schools have TEACH grants, even if they offer degrees in education. Like the FSEOG program, schools administer the TEACH program, so they determine which students are eligible for TEACH funding.
Schools also determine which of their courses qualify for TEACH. Some programs may be eligible for TEACH funding while others are not, even if they are on the same campus. If you are considering a TEACH bursary to pay for college, talk to a financial aid advisor and make sure you and your program of study are eligible for the TEACH program.
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Every year you receive a TEACH grant, you must sign a service agreement. By signing this document, you acknowledge the terms of the TEACH grant and agree to complete the four-year teaching requirement upon graduation.
If you do not meet the terms of the TEACH Service Agreement, your grant will be converted to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. This means you have to pay back the grant plus interest.
TEACH scholarships can be a great way to help future teachers graduate with little or no debt. However, because of the post-graduation demands these scholarships place on your life, you must ensure that you are genuinely committed to teaching and able to meet the terms of your service agreement before enrolling in a TEACH fellowship.
Because TEACH grants can be converted into loans, you should think carefully before using them to pay for college.
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For example, say you originally majored in education and used your TEACH bursary to pay for your tuition. If you decide to change your major (more than half of students do), your TEACH bursary will be converted into a loan you have repaid.
Likewise, if you leave school before completing your degree, your TEACH bursary will be converted into a loan and you will have to start making monthly payments.
Finally, your living circumstances may change so that you cannot fulfill your four-year service obligation. You may get married, have children, or have to care for aging parents. All of this means you may have to transfer schools or leave your job altogether. If this happens, your TEACH grant will be converted to a loan.
Usually, you don't have to pay back the financial aid you paid for college, but there are exceptions.
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As previously stated, if you do not meet the requirements of the Services Agreement, then
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