Grants and Scholarships for College

Grants and scholarships are very important when a student is trying to figure out how to pay for college because they do not have to be paid back! Grants and scholarships for college are money that you can put directly toward paying for college and should almost always be accepted before taking out loans or paying with your own money. It is important to find out if the money will be given out each year of attendance or only for one year because that can significantly affect the ability to pay for college. Many colleges offer generous grants in aid packages for the first year to entice students to attend that college. After the first year, the aid, often in the form of institution grants can greatly diminish. This is why it is very important to check with a financial aid office’s policy.


Grants are often need based, and can come in many forms.

Pell Grants

Pell grants are offered by the federal government and are need-based. They are only offered to those who are undergraduates and have not completed a bachelor’s or professional degree. Filling out the FAFSA is required to receive a Pell grant, and the maximum amount that can be received is $5,920 for the 2017-2018 year.

State Grants

Individual state governments offer state grants to residents. These grants can be need or academic-based depending on the state. Some states require additional paperwork besides the FAFSA to qualify for state grants. It is best to check with your local state’s website to see if there are any additional forms to fill out to receive state aid.

Institution Grants

Institution grants are often offered to students based on financial need to make attending the college more affordable. It is important to check to see if this grant will recur if the student continues to demonstrate financial need. Institution grants often diminish in subsequent years after enrollment. This can cause significant difficulty if a large grant disappears.


Scholarships are often based on other factors besides financial need such as academic achievement, athletic ability, or what a student
chooses to study.

Academic/Merit scholarships

Academic scholarships can take many forms, but are often related to past academic achievement and/or high standardized test scores such as the SAT. They are often issued directly by the university to help offset the costs of attendance. Some scholarships affect only tuition, while others may cover room and board as well.

Athletic scholarships

Athletic scholarships are given to students who will be playing a sport for the college. Colleges offer athletic scholarships to help entice potential athletes to attend their institution and play for them.

Local/Independent scholarships

These are not offered by the government or college, and can be based on academic achievement, athletic achievement, ethnicity, program studied, and various other things. Many local communities and national programs offer independent scholarships for college, and require them to be used towards college expenses