Federal Grants for
College Students 101

There are many federal grants for college students available. Some are strictly need based and others are determined by academics or field of interest.

The best part about federal grants is that you don’t need to pay them back. This is why they’re often referred to as government free money, gift aid or a free financial aid grant.

Depending on what your path to college is will determine which federal grants for college you can take advantage of.

College Pell Grants

College Pell Grants are one of the most awarded federal grants that have been around for many years. This grant is awarded based purely on financial need.

It’s awarded to both undergraduate students and certain graduate students pursuing a career in teaching. Learn more at College Pell Grants 101.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The FSEOG is awarded in extreme cases of financial need. Priority is given to those students who have received College Pell Grants.

The FSEOG is awarded only by colleges that participate in the program and the number of awards depends entirely on the funds available for that college. Learn more...

Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)

The ACG program was created to encourage students with financial need to enter into critical fields such as science, technology, math and engineering. It’s awarded to freshmen and sophomore undergraduates.

The program was designed to encourage high school students to get involved in rigorous high school programs that would prepare the student for these high demand fields of study in college. Learn more...

SMART Grant Program

The Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant Program takes over where the ACG Grant Program left off. It continues the program by offering undergraduate junior’s and senior’s grants to continue pursuing these critical fields of study like science, technology, math and engineering. Learn more...


These federal grants for college are awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a teaching degree that’ll lead to elementary or secondary school teaching. The student must attend a college or university that participates in this program.

A commitment is required after graduating that requires the student to teach in a low income school for at least four years. Learn more...

State Student Incentive Grants (SSIG)

Unlike other federal grants for college, these grants are awarded by the state governments to full-time students based on financial need. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible.

These state federal grants for college are funded by the federal grant program known as Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) Grant Program. These LEAP Grants support the funds that states use to support the SSIG Grants that support students in need.

Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant

These federal grants for college are unique because they’re awarded to students who had a parent who served in the armed forces and died as a result of that military service while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001.

Students must be ineligible to receive College Pell Grants because of inability to meet the financial need standards to receive a Pell Grant in order to be eligible to receive the Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant.

Other Federal Grants for College

If you’re a high school student, visit your guidance office to find more information on any financial aid grant that’s available through your particular state.

If you’re a college student, visit your financial aid office and talk with staff about any other financial aid grant opportunities that may be available that you may qualify for.

How to Apply!

The first step in applying for any of these federal grants for college is to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Federal Grants for CollegeAfter filing the FAFSA, I would strongly recommend you speak with the staff at the financial aid office to go over any grant programs you’re interested in and find out if there are any other qualifications you need to meet eligibility.

Don’t just file the FAFSA and wait for things to happen. Follow up early and make things happen and this is how you’ll be successful at finding lots of government free money.

Now it'student-grants-for-college.html">win these student grants for college.

Understanding your financial aid package.
Understanding your government backed loan options.

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