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Federal government grants for education.

The federal government offers several grant programs that do not require repayment. While there are various conditions that need to be met in order to qualify for each program, the grants are usually awarded to the students who have the greatest need for help with paying their education expenses according to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The grant programs include the following:

Federal Grant Programs

  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG) - This grant is awarded to eligible full time students who meet the FAFSA priority deadline as of March 1 of every year. While that is the typical date, each college and state will have a different deadline and they can change from year to year. It is recommend that your check with your college for the latest information and deadlines.
  • Federal Pell Grant -This federal government grant is awarded to eligible undergraduate students. It promotes college for low to moderate income students. Any funds offered do not need to be repaid to the government. While the amount paid out will change from year to year, there are several factors that are taken into consideration. The amount offered depends on the applicants need and total household income, the cost of their tuition, and other factors. In general the most paid out by the federal government will be around $5000 to $6000 per year, however this will change depending on government funding and budget constraints.
  • Academic Competitive Grant (ACG) -This grant is awarded to assist eligible students who are in their first two academic years. The intent was to encourage students to take more difficult classes when in high school. While it will only assist with paying the first two years of college, it is often run in combination with the National SMART Grant. That particular SMART grant can help pay for the third and/or fourth year of college, so when combined these two can be a powerful combination.
  • TEACH Grant - This is offered to students and is not based entirely upon need. It can be awarded to both eligible undergraduate as well as graduate students. Anyone who receives this grant will need to commit to teaching after they graduate, and the commitment will usually be for up to four years. There may be other conditions as well, such as the individual may need to teach low income students.





  • National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART) - This education grant is awarded to eligible students in specific majors and educational fields. In general, the students needs to be enrolled in more technical majors such as computer or life sciences, math, engineering, technology, foreign language, or some other type of science or technical field. It will usually help pay for the third and fourth year of college, and a few thousand dollars may be provided.
  • Grants for nursing - There are grants for certain careers as well. For example, the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a resource known as the Nursing Scholarship Program. The government will offer a stipend to help pay for tuition and other basic living expenses for those pursuing a degree. Graduates will usually need to agree to work a couple years at an approved health care facility or hospital after they graduate.
  • Graduate students - While not as common, some government agencies may help students pay for advanced degrees. For example, the Geological Society of America will usually run an annual grant program. In the past a few hundred students per year would be assisted. The funds will help pay for a portion of an applicants master's and/or doctoral thesis.
  • Military members and veterans - Many active personnel, veterans and maybe their families can receive low interest loans, scholarships or grants. The government will help pay the college tuition of veterans, active duty members, spouses, or their immediate family members. Additional special financial assistance programs may also be offered for veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan.

By Jon McNamara

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