College grants are interesting creatures to say the least.  They are in that strange zone between scholarships, federal loans, and welfare.  This odd placement on the Financial Aid map of most college payment guides has these programs riddled with enigma and wrapped in confusion.  So, what is the best way to go about understanding how grants work?

Well, that would actually have to depend on what you are trying to use the grant for, what kind of grant for which you are applying, and how much money you expect to get.  Most college scholarships have a very similar application process, but grants can totally vary from state to state, department to department, and yes, the government is also in the scholarship business.  Yes, grants sure are confusing, but that is why you’ve come to use in the first place.


Why Do You Need a Grant?

This is a very valid question that you will have to answer in order to get your hands on the grant.  In essence, the government wants to know why you need their money.  With the knowledge and facts that you give them, they will be able to make a decision.

One of the reasons may be that you are an exceptional student and you simply need a few extra dollars to pay for school without dumping loans into your tuition.

This reason is likely to get you denied.

One of the reasons may be that you are still an average student, but your current household dips below the “poverty line”, which means that you are considered to be in the “welfare class”.  If this is you, then you will almost automatically qualify for at least a Pell grant.  As you can see, much of your ability to acquire the free government money has very little to do with your performance in high school and has more to do with how much your family makes.


What Kind of Grant?

While you may not have any trouble acquiring grant support, you still run the risk of losing the grant if your grades dip too lowly.  Most Pell grants require a 3.0 GPA with a rather intensive level of classes.  The government wants to know that you aren’t wasting their “hard earned” cash.

Of course, Pell grants are of a certain kind that are only given out to poorer families.  Among many other grants, you will find ones based on ethnicity, sexual preference, expertise, and other reasons to give you cash.  It is important to figure out if you are in one of these few categories, as this has the potential to be worth a chunk of money to you.

Whether you receive a check or not will largely depend on what kind of grant you are seeking.  If there is not a whole bunch of money allocated in the goverment budget to get Native American Males to college, then these grants may be hard to get (this is an example, of course.)


How Much Do You Need?

It is important to figure out how much you need for school.  There are certain variants of grants that will actually allow you to “name your price” on how much you want to dish out for school.  In addition to that, if you are applying for a Pell grant, then you could stand to be in the way of over $5,000 per year, which comes out to a whopping $20,000 by the time you graduate.  This is all provided that you keep your grades up, but you should know that it is in keeping the grant, not acquiring it, that takes the most work on your part.

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