Education is seen as a way to improve one’s life and achieve career goals for many people. However, the cost of higher education in the USA can be a major barrier for low-income students who want to pursue their dreams. Fortunately, there are many grants available for students who need financial assistance to attend college or university. Grants are different from loans, as they do not have to be repaid. They are usually awarded based on financial need, academic merit or other criteria.
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is among the most popular and generous grants for low-income students in the USA. It is funded by the federal government and administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The Pell Grant can cover up to $6,495 per year for the 2021-2022 academic year. The amount of the grant depends on the student’s expected family contribution (EFC), the cost of attendance (COA) and the enrollment status (full-time or part-time). The Pell Grant is available for undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s degree or a professional degree. For more information, visit https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/grants/pell.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is another grant for low-income students in the USA that is funded by the federal government and administered by the participating schools. The FSEOG can provide up to $4,000 per year for students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. The FSEOG is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so students are encouraged to apply early. The FSEOG is also available for undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s degree or a professional degree. For further information, visit https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/grants/fseog.
State Grants for Low-Income Students
In addition to federal grants, many states also offer grants for low-income students in the USA who are residents of their state or attend a school in their state. State grants vary in eligibility requirements, application procedures and award amounts.
The Cal Grant program offers four types of grants for low-income students in California who meet academic and financial criteria. The Cal Grant A and B can cover tuition and fees at public and private colleges and universities in California. In contrast, the Cal Grant C can cover vocational and technical education costs. The Cal Grant A Competitive Award and the Cal Grant B Competitive Award are available for students who do not qualify for the entitlement awards based on their high school GPA or test scores. To see more information, visit https://www.csac.ca.gov/cal-grants.
The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) assists low-income students in New York who attend an eligible college or university in New York State. The TAP can cover up to $5,665 per year for full-time students and up to $2,832 per year for part-time students. The TAP is based on the student’s income, family size and tuition charges. Find out more information at https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/apply-for-financial-aid/nys-tap.html.
The Texas Public Educational Grant (TPEG) is a grant for low-income students in Texas who attend a public college or university in Texas. The TPEG can cover the student’s financial needs after other aid is considered. Each school awards the TPEG according to its policies and availability of funds. For more information, visit https://studentservices.southtexascollege.edu/.
Institutional Grants for Low-Income Students
Many colleges and universities also offer grants for low-income students in the USA who attend their institutions. Institutional grants are usually based on financial need, academic merit or other factors such as ethnicity, gender, major or extracurricular activities. Institutional grants vary in eligibility requirements, application procedures and award amounts. Some examples of institutional grants are:
The Harvard College Grant is a grant for low-income students who attend Harvard College. The Harvard College Grant is based on the student’s family income, assets and household size. To learn more, visit https://college.harvard.edu/financial-aid/how-aid-works/types-aid.
The Stanford Scholarship can be up to 100% of a student’s tuition and fees after the deduction of grants and other aid. The Stanford Scholarship is based on the student’s family income, assets and household size. For further information, visit https://globalscholarships.stanford.edu/scholarship-opportunities.
University of California
The University of California (UC) Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan is for low-income students attending any UC campus. The UC Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan can cover up to 100% of the student’s systemwide tuition and fees after scholarships and other aid are deducted. Find out more information at https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/tuition-financial-aid/types-of-aid/blue-and-gold-opportunity-plan.
Private Grants for Low-Income Students
Finally, there are also many private grants for low-income students in the USA that are offered by foundations, corporations, organizations or individuals. Private grants vary in eligibility requirements, application procedures and award amounts.
Gates Millennium Scholars Program
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is an assistance program for low-income students who are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American/Pacific Islander or Hispanic American. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program can cover the full cost of attendance for undergraduate and graduate students who pursue degrees in any discipline. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is designed on the basis of a student’s academic achievement, leadership potential, and commitment to community service. To see more information, visit https://gmsp.org/.
Coca-Cola Scholars Program
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program is a grant for high school seniors who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership and service. The Coca-Cola Scholars Program can provide up to $20,000 for four years of college or university. The Coca-Cola Scholars Program is based on the student’s academic performance, extracurricular activities and personal qualities. For more information, visit https://www.coca-colascholarsfoundation.org/apply/.
Dell Scholars Program
The Dell Scholars Program is a scholarship program for low-income students enrolled in an accredited college preparatory program. The Dell Scholars Program provides up to $20,000 for six years of college. The Dell Scholars Program is based on a student’s academic potential, financial need and determination. Explore details at https://www.dellscholars.org/.