How to Know What Scholarships You Are Eligible For

Planning on going to college, university, or career school? Follow along with this handy guide to find out your potential opportunities and how they can help you.

If you are heading off to college, you may be concerned about how you will pay for tuition and other living costs. While attending an in-state college can cost considerably less, it can still be hard to pay out-of-pocket. Fortunately, you may be able to take advantage of study grants or scholarships. In this short guide, you will learn everything you need to know about study grants and scholarships including what they are, what the different types are, how much you can save by securing a grant or scholarship if you qualify, and how to apply for grants and scholarships. 

What Is a Study Grant or Scholarship?

A study grant or a scholarship can be very helpful for individuals paying for college, university, or career school. Unlike loans, you do not have to pay them back and they can be put towards tuition, books, residence, and living expenses during your enrollment.

You can find study grants and scholarships from the federal government, state government, academic institutions, organizations, and foundations. Typically, these are awarded to students based on academic achievements, merits, financial needs, ethnicities, or career choices. 

Types of Study Grants and Scholarships

There are many types of study grants and scholarships. They may include:

  • Federal Study Grants: The federal government and your state government may offer study grants to qualifying students, as a form of financial aid. They offer their study grants based on different factors, such as low income, career path, or military service.
  • State-Sponsored Grants: Your state may offer study grants and scholarships based on financial need, minority status, and career path choice. 
  • Career Grants: A career study grant is given to students going into high-demand career fields. 
  • Academic Scholarships: Academic scholarships are typically given out by academic institutions to students who have received high grades, remained on honor rolls, or displayed high aptitude in certain academic fields. 
  • Military Scholarships: Military scholarships are available for military members, spouses, and their children. 
  • Minority Scholarships: Minority scholarships are awarded to minority persons in the United States. They may include Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Pacific, Asian Indian ethnicities, and LGBTQ individuals. 
  • Financial Aid Scholarships: Financial aid scholarships can help individuals coming from low incomes gain access to higher education. They may also consider your personal situation, such as if you have a disability, illness, or dependents. 
  • Unique Scholarships: There are many different types of scholarships available from schools, organizations, and foundations. If you have a particular interest, or hobby, or are a member of a community or organization, check to see if they have any grants or scholarships available. 

How Much Can You Save on College with a Study Grant or Scholarship?

The average cost of college is $35,331 per year. These costs vary depending on the type of academic institution, how prestigious the school is, the region in which the school is located, and if you are attending school in your home state or out-of-state. However, there are many students who cannot pay the full amount of tuition and living expenses without a student loan. 

A study grant or scholarship gives individuals the chance to pursue higher education without incurring large amounts of debt. At the very least, it can offset the costs by a small degree. A study grant or scholarship ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to full-ride scholarships that cover the entire cost of your education. Most scholarships average $7,400 while most grants average $13,690 annually.

Do you Qualify for Any Federal Grants?

Federal grants are the most excessive study grants for many students. There are four main grants offered by the U.S. Government: 

  • Federal Pell Grant: The Pell Grant is available for qualifying students entering their first undergraduate degree. They compare your income against the cost of tuition and whether you will be attending school full-time or part-time. For the 2022-2023 school year, the award amount can reach up to $6,895.

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): FSEOG is a grant offered to students who qualify for a Pell Grant, and who have an extremely low income. They base your award on your financial need, tuition, full-time or part-time status, and the financial aid options offered by the institution. They provide up to $4000 per year. 

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: If you do not qualify for the Pell Grant but have parents who died in military service in Iraq or Afghanistan, you may qualify for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. You can be awarded up to the full Pell Grant amount.

  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH): TEACH is available for students who wish to teach full-time in a high-needs elementary or secondary field in a low-income area. You also must meet certain academic requirements to qualify. If you do receive the TEACH Grant, you may receive up to $4000 per year. 

  • U.S. Department of Education Grants: The U.S. Department of Education also provides many grants and scholarships for qualifying students.

How To Apply for Grants and Scholarships 

It can be overwhelming to apply for grants and scholarships. One of the most stressful aspects is finding the study grants and scholarships that you may qualify for. Fortunately, there are easy ways to carry out this portion of the process. 

One of the best ways to discover which study grants and scholarships are available for you is to contact your guidance counselor at your current school. They can help you navigate applying for college and finding scholarships. Alternatively, you can also contact the academic institution you wish to attend for college or higher education. Their financial aid office or their counseling office may be able to help you find out which financial aid options, scholarships, and study grants you may benefit from. 

Another excellent way to find study grants and scholarships is to use the U.S. Department of Labor’s search tool. The scholarship search lets you filter by keyword or narrow down your choices by types, locations, study levels, and other criteria. 

It is also a great idea to check with your local government office, community center, and any organizations or groups of which you may be a member. Often, organizations offer study grants or scholarships. If you have a particular interest, it may be worthwhile to check out groups dedicated to your passion as well. Many large associations offer grants or scholarships if you are planning on pursuing an education in the domain.