An online college grant, like an online scholarship, is a form of online financial aid that you do not have to pay back. Online grants are given by the federal government through multiple agencies to help pay for your college education.
There are many online college grants available to online students, no matter their area of study or level of online degree. However, finding a college grant online can be a bit tricky because there are countless scam sites. If you are on a website for a college grant online and the site has flashy, colorful headlines and boasts how the government needs to get rid of money, then chances are you are on a scam site. However, sites like www.grants.gov and www.studentaid.edu.gov are great resources.
What is the difference between grants and scholarships?
If both online college grants and online university grants offer you free money, then what is the difference? To be honest, not much. They are both programs that help students pay for their college tuition. However, the reason behind offering an online student grant differs from the reasons behind offering a scholarship, which is why both terms are still used.
The most basic differences are as follows:
- A college grant online is given out solely by the federal or state government; scholarships can be given by the federal and state governments as well as private groups
- Grants are need-based whereas scholarships are merit-based
- Grants can be issued to states and communities as well as individuals; scholarships are only given to individuals
The difference between need-based and merit-based is a gray line, especially with tuition prices steadily climbing. There are online college scholarships that are need-based, but no online college grants are given out for merit.
If you are looking for online financial aid to pay for your tuition you want to stay away from foundation grants. Foundation grants are a type of online college grant that is awarded to a community that helps fund the development of higher education or career training programs. When looking for an individual college grant online you want to look for grants that award individual students for the sole purpose of paying for college or career training.
What online college grants are available?
There are certain online college grants that are more popular than others. The most popular are Pell Grants.
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- National SMART Grant
- The Academic Competitive Grant (ACG)
There is also the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education, or TEACH grant. This grant is not need-based, but requires the student to teach in high-need schools for a certain period of time after graduation.
The Federal Pell Grant and ACG grants are available for online financial aid for any undergraduate student with a need; the FSEOG is for undergraduates looking to get aid for continuing their education to the graduate level, and the SMART grants are for juniors and seniors majoring in physical, life or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering or in a foreign language deemed critically important to national security. Out of these the Federal Pell Grant is the most popular and is given on a need-basis; families making under $20,000 are most likely to qualify.
How much financial aid will an online college grant give me?
The amount a student receives from a college grant online is based on a number of factors:
- Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- The cost of your college attendance
- Your enrollment status (full-time or part-time)
- Whether you attend the school for a full term
The maximum amount offered by the Federal Pell Grant is $4,050 with the average being around $2,400 per year.