How to Apply for Grants for College

Scholarships do not provide sufficient financial aid for many college students. Applying for government grants can get students closer to paying tuition costs.

How to Apply for Grants for College
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Overview
Each year, college gets more and more expensive. Going to a private institution can cost upward of $40,000 to $50,000 a year. Besides scholarships, students also have the options of getting grants to fund their education. The process of applying is somewhat similar to that of scholarship applications and can be just as rewarding financially.
Step 1
Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is key in many grant applications and is a required part of the application for financial aid at many schools. Your FAFSA will automatically prompt a check of your qualification for all federal grants, including a Pell Grant or GI Bill grant money.
Step 2
Check to see whether the state in which you are a resident offers grants. Many states will offer grants to residents with some stipulations. See the Resources section for a breakdown by state of available grants.
Step 3
Consider your situation. Beyond just need-based and merit-based grants, many organizations will offer grants. There are many grants available for minority students, female students, nontraditional students, students with physical or learning disabilities, or even students studying specific majors. Think about the elements that make you stand out as a student, and look for grants that you qualify for based on that information.
Step 4
Talk to a school's financial aid department. If already accepted at a school or if you have a clear first choice, talk to someone at that school. Many schools offer grants that require different applications. Ask whether the school has a list of grants you can apply for, and discuss your situation to see whether officials know offhand of any other grants you may qualify for.
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Resources
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Free Grants for College Students
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State Grants for College Students