School grants are funds that are disbursed to students as an award.  Unlike student loans, grants do not have to be repaid and they are not considered taxable income.  A majority of student grants are used to pay for tuition, books, supplies, and living expenses when a student is attending a post-secondary school.  Post-secondary schools are technically described as any school that a student attends after they graduate 12th grade.  Some of the various institutions offering grant opportunities include community colleges, universities, private colleges, vocational schools, business schools, trade schools, distance learning facilities, and niche-specific institutions.  If you are a woman and you are looking for a school grants for women, read on to learn about how to fund your education with money you do not have to pay back.

The Difference Between School Grants and Student Loans

If you read through studies performed by the National Center for Education Statistics, you will discover that the average college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree has student loan debt of approximately $13,000 per year.  Students attending private schools rack up approximately $28,000 in debt per year.  These statistics also show that about 50 percent of the student population has $10,000 or more of student loan debt.  These loans are offered by the Financial Aide Department of the college, the Federal Government, or private lending institutions.  When you sign a promissory note for a loan, you are promising to pay back both the principal and the interest with your first payment being 6 months after you graduate or stop school.

Grants are anything but a loan.  These funds are offering by different agencies and organizations as a gift to the recipient.    While grants are often mistaken for a scholarship, the awarding system of grants are much different.  The grantee does not have to approve your credit history like a lending institution does when you apply for a loan.  You also do not have to compete against thousands of other women for an award like you do when you are applying for a limited scholarship opportunity.  If you do not want to stretch yourself to repay thousands of dollars of debt right when you find your first job, consider replacing the need for loans with school grants for women.

Who Is Eligible For a School Grant?

One of the first things that may come to mind is how you can qualify for a school grant.  The basic principle to consider is that any woman who can demonstrate a financial need can apply for a grant through their school.  Because women are still considered minorities, there are specialized grants for women who want to further their learning and advance their careers.  When you apply for a grant through your school, you will be asked to provide your income or the income of your family if you are a dependent.  If you can show a financial need based on the median income in your area, chances are you will qualify for a grant.  There may be special requirements for each individual grant depending on the funding source.

Types of Grants

There are 3 very distinct forms of school grants that you should distinguish from when you are comparing different award amounts and terms.  These are the most popular types of grants available  today:

Scholarships-  Scholarships are the most difficult award to receive and they are generally awarded based on exceptional performance and merit.  Most scholarships are awarded in a specific area of study or for athletes in a specific sport.  Applicants must write an essay or complete a project to apply for a scholarship.

Bursaries-  Bursaries are similar to a grant and are awarded to students who are experiencing a financial hardship.  Most of these funds go to paying tuition or for books when the student cannot afford to do so.  The funds that are disbursed are awarded on a graduating scale based on the applicants income and need.

Grants-  Grants are the last form and the most common type of funding used by individuals with a financial need.  Grants have diverse eligibility requirements and they can cover the entire cost of schooling or a small portion of the cost of schooling depending on which type of grant you are applying for.  Grants must be applied for each year or each semester depending on what school the student is attending.

Here is a list of the most common types of school grants for women:

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants-

FSEOG grants are federal funds that are based on financial need.  The school and the government work together to determine how much the student qualifies for and eligibility is determined based on information provided in your FASFA application.

Pell Grants-

Women may also qualify for a Pell grant of up to $5550 per year.  This is a Basic Education Opportunity Grant program that is available to any student with moderate or low incomes.  You will be asked to fill out an assessment to determine your Expected Family Contribution.  The answers on this assessment and the number of units you are taking during a semester will determine how much you qualify for.

State Grants-

In addition to the Federal Pell grant and the FSEOG, your state may also offer school grants for women.  Almost every state in the nation has a grant program in force.  You can consult your state’s education department or your school to discuss what grants are available in your area.

Private Grants and Funds Offered By The Institution

Some schools and foundations offer their own private grant and scholarship opportunities.  These private funds are available to students with a financial need as long as they have a good academic performance.  The criteria for these private grants will vary and you should check with your school’s Financial Aide Department to see what type of private school grants for women are available during the semester and what the application filing deadlines are.

Grant money is available for women who need it.  If you feel like you cannot afford the cost of school, sit down with a Financial Aide specialist and discuss your options.  Always fill out your application for Federal Student Financial Aid and you will receive more opportunities for grants.  Set your goals, make a plan to achieve your goals, and take advantage of the assistance that is available to you.

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