Education grants can help you afford college without having to pay the funds back. You should know the difference between student loans and grants since you usually do not need to pay one type back. You may be surprised to find out you can get thousands for tuition and other school-related expenses.
Whether looking for grants for online classes or in-person courses, you can apply for multiple financial opportunities with just one application. Discover how to get free cash for your education.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form you submit to apply for Federal Pell Grants. If you qualify for a Pell Grant, you can receive up to $6,495 for the 2021-2022 school year expenses. These funds can cover some to all of the costs at community colleges, four-year universities, and trade schools.
You may be able to get even more than the maximum award! For instance, you may receive up to 150 percent more if you take classes during summer or winter semesters when most students usually take off. Not only can this save you money, but you may be able to graduate faster and start your career sooner.
The U.S. Department of Education provides funds for Pell Grants, and it determines how much you can get in grant funds. The FAFSA form you complete tells them about your financial situation and the schools and programs you wish to attend.
Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the school’s attendance cost, and your enrollment status influence your award amount. Likewise, the award formula depends on if you are a:
- Dependent student. Under this category, the government assumes that your family will contribute money towards your education. It may consider you a dependent if you are a dependent on your parents’ taxes, are younger than 24 years of age, do not have children, are unmarried, and have never been in the military.
- An independent student without dependents. The government will categorize you as independent if you are 24 years of age or older, married, have served in the military, or are pursuing a graduate or professional degree.
- An independent student with dependents. You will fit in this category if you match any of the above criteria and you have children.
The government will not grant you more money than the cost of your prospective education or the maximum award. You can also not obtain grants for online classes if you are currently in jail or otherwise involuntarily committed to an institution for certain offenses.
You will need to apply annually for a Pell Grant and continue to demonstrate your financial need. You can receive funds for up to six years or 12 terms.
If you do not meet the requirements for a Pell Grant, other financial options are available. Consider the following options to cover your educational expenses.