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A scholarship is tuition assistance that does not need to be repaid. In a word, it is FREE money for college.
Merit Based Scholarships:
Merit based scholarships are the most well known. These are the scholarships that are awarded by the college/university for academic merit, athletics, arts, etc.
Service scholarships are tuition assistance in return for service post graduation. These include military service, ROTC programs, as well as company/employer programs.
Private or outside scholarships come in many forms. There are literally thousands available every year. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages and what potential effect they can have on your EFC is crucial in determining whether or not your child should participate.
There are several types of Federal Grants, the most common of which are The Pell Grant, The Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant, The Academic Competitiveness Grant, and the National SMART Grant.
The Federal Pell Grant program provides need-based grants to low income undergraduate students to promote access to secondary education. Students may use their grants at any one of approximately 5,400 participating postsecondary institutions. Grant amounts are dependent on: the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC); the cost of attendance (as determined by the institution); the student’s enrollment status (full-time or part-time); and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less. Students may receive up to 5,500 annually. For more information visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/fpg/index.html
Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The FSEOG Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Students can receive these grants at any one of approximately 4,000 participating postsecondary institutions. Institutional financial aid administrators at participating institutions have substantial flexibility in determining the amount of FSEOG awards to provide students who are enrolled or accepted for enrollment. Priority is given to those students with “exceptional need” (those with the lowest Expected Family Contributions, [EFC’s], at the institution) and those who are also Federal Pell Grant recipients. Student may receive between $100-$4,000 annually. To learn more visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/fseog/index.html
Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) & The National SMART Grant
In 2006, two student grant programs–the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (National SMART Grant) Programs–were enacted to meet the growing need for improved math and science instruction in the United States. These grants encourage students to take more challenging courses in high school–making success in college more likely, according to research–and to pursue college majors in high demand in the global economy, such as science, mathematics, technology, engineering and critical foreign languages. Academic Competitiveness Grants are available to students for their first and second academic years of college and students may receive up to $750/year and up to $1,300 for the second year. National SMART Grants are available to students for their third and fourth academic years of college and students may receive up to $4,000 for the third and fourth years. To learn more visit: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/ac-smart.html