Achieving a higher degree is a dream for many Americans. Attending college and getting a well-paying job is even what some people consider to be the “American dream.” However, it comes at a price that many can’t afford without assistance. Each year, college students have the opportunity to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application determines eligibility for any grant opportunities that help cover some school expenses.
Financial aid opportunities can provide helpful funds to students to lessen some of the financial burden of going to college. They are often based on a student’s financial need. In addition to that, they can positively impact college students by reducing their out-of-pocket costs and reliance on loans. If you’re wanting to further your education, it’s important to know what types of financial opportunities are available to you. You don’t want to spend more than you have to on your education, right?
Federal Education Grants Can Help Students Pay for Their Degree
Pursuing a higher degree costs a lot of money. Most students realize that seeking financial assistance with their education costs is important. Federal education grants can help a variety of students in different circumstances. Grants can help cover education expenses such as textbooks, tuition, and more. There are a few different categories of federal grants. Some are awarded based on a student’s financial need. Meanwhile, others are awarded based on a student’s achievements . However, no matter the type, federal education grants often don’t need to be paid back after graduation. For this reason, grants can play a key role in a student’s ability to pursue their degree without excessive financial stress!
Three popular federal education grants we are going to highlight in this article include:
- TEACH Grant: Students that are pursuing a degree to work as a teacher after graduation can take advantage of this grant.
- Pell Grant: This grant is known for being the largest source of funds to undergraduate students!
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): This grant is intended to provide additional funds to students that have more of a financial need than most.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
The TEACH Grant is designed specifically for students pursuing careers in teaching. This is an example of a career-based grant and it can provide up to $4,000 each year for tuition costs. In order to be eligible for this grant, students need to commit to working in an underserved field or low-income area after graduation!
The Pell Grant
The Pell Grant is an example of a need-based grant. Students that have not yet achieved their bachelors, professional or graduate degree are eligible. In addition to that, it is awarded to students that have a financial need for one. This popular grant can be utilized at any accredited college or university in the U.S. The maximum award amount for this grant varies each year. However, for the 2023 – 2024 school year, the most a Pell Grant can be worth is up to $7,395. Students are not guaranteed the maximum. Instead, factors such as the following influence the amount each person can get:
- Financial situation
- Enrollment status (part-time or full-time)
- Tuition rates
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
Another need-based grant is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Undergraduate students can get between $100-$4,000 each academic year that they qualify. It’s important to note that they are subject to availability at participating schools. This opportunity provides additional financial support to those with extreme financial need. If you require extra financial assistance to pay for college, the FSEOG might be an ideal solution.
Alternatives to Keep in Mind
Grants are a great opportunity for students. They can cover a portion of expensive education costs that students deal with. However, even students that can qualify for grants, may still have expenses that they need to pay out of pocket for. Unfortunately financial aid can only cover so much! This is why it’s important to consider any alternatives that can help pay for school.
Some students may want to avoid taking out any student loans as much as they can. However, sometimes it’s inevitable. If you find yourself needing to consider a loan, you can take a look at various federal student loans. When compared to traditional private loans, federal loans can have unique advantages. Some are need-based and can assist students by covering the interest on the loan for a certain period of time. Meanwhile, others that require a credit check have fixed interest rates that are usually not as high as bank loans.
Three types of federally backed student loans are:
- Unsubsidized Loans
- PLUS Loans
- Subsidized Loans
Loans aren’t the only option that students can consider to save money. There are also tax credits that can boost a student’s return, such as:
Lifetime Learning Credit
Federal tax credits like the Lifetime Learning Credit allow reimbursements of up to $2,000 per tax return! This tax credit is meant to help offset tuition and other education expenses for certain students. These deductions are dependent on the taxpayer’s circumstances.
American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)
Students can get up to $2,500 in reimbursements per year from AOTC! Students can receive 100% back for their first $2,000 in educational costs. After that, the credit decreases to 25% for the next $2,000 in expenses.
If you’re pursuing your degree, you don’t have to take on the entire financial burden on your own! There are numerous options for you that may be able to lessen the costs you need to pay for on your own. Education expenses can rack up fast. Tuition is often thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars per year. On top of that, expenses like textbooks, transportation, and school supplies need to be factored in. Students actually have the opportunity to check if they’re eligible for any financial help before each school year. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is fairly easy to navigate. This application puts students in the running for a variety of federal education grants. It’s important to consider all of the available opportunities out there. The less you’re worried about your finances, the more you can focus on being the best student!