Federal grants are by far the most common of all the grants that are awarded in the US. So, it is important that you exhaust all of your federal grant possibilities before you go for state and local grants. Essentially, the time old adage “hurry up and wait” applies here, as does anything that has to do with the Government.
Applying for any type of Federal Grant is going to require patience, but it is broken into four steps. Of course, the first things you need to do before you start applying for anything is getting your documentation in order, and you need to do some research on the grants for which you would like to apply.
First, it is important to start some diligent research on the subject. There are quite a few books on the market, or you can look into books that are eBook downloadable.
Basically, these books are going to help you know which grants you are eligible for, and they will let you know how to apply for them. The key is to do everything methodically, so you will want to bookmark the grants that catch your eye as desirable and possible to acquire.
Now, it’s time to begin:
The first step to getting your federal grant process going is to go to the FAFSA website. This should always be square one, as it basically serves as your student loan/scholarship/federal grant source. Now, if you don’t have an account and FAFSA Pin Number, then you need to start off making one. This should not take too long, as only basic information should be required. They may need certain account information, but you should be doing this with as many of your records with you.
Your next step is to gather your tax and paystub information. One of the biggest reasons why it is important to have income information at your disposal is because the obvious majority of these grants is going to be “need based”. So, make sure you have all the right documentation, such as W2 and other tax documents, as well as any other government programs you might be apart of.
The key here is wait. You are going to have to sit tight for quite a while, which is one reason why it is important for you to begin the process even into your Junior year in high school. If you don’t then you might end up footing the bills for your first or second year of college.
Now, that is not to say that the process always takes two years to complete, but it is important that you allot enough time to be on time.
Your original documentation and information from FAFSA may be sent to you within the first few business days, but it may take quite a while to actually get your hands on the funds for you to get to school.
Here comes the money. This part is actually going to be rather simple, but it is important to let FAFSA know which college you are going to and what program you will be involved with. The primary reason for this is that FAFSA will establish the account with that college, to pay directly to it. The issue is that Pell grants will not just deposit $3,000 into your bank account ever semester. They will be sending their money directly to the college. So, it is important that you keep this in mind.
Above all, remember that it is better to be early than late if you can’t be on time. The sooner you kick start the process, the less nail biting you’ll be doing when the bill come due.