School GrantsGovernment Grants

Taking help of US federal grants to pay off your college debt – What are your options?

With the spiraling college costs and the rising tuition fees, very few students are being able to complete college without taking out educational loans. With the increase in the number of people who are taking out student loans to grab their college degree, there is also a simultaneous slowdown in the job market. Due to the lack of jobs in the market, not many students are being able to repay their student loan debt and this is giving birth to a crushing debt burden which is paralyzing an entire generation. Amidst all this chaos about the non-payment of the student loans, there is a faint hope for all those students who might qualify for the federal college grants. Grants and scholarships are usually called “gift aid” as they’re free money which need not be repaid. Most grants are need-based while scholarships are merit-based. If you’re not aware of the US federal grants that are offered by the US Department of Education, here is a list of options for you.

  1. Federal Pell Grant: Whenever you check out a list of federal grants, you will see the Federal Pell Grant to be listed as the first one in the list. The fiscally disadvantaged students can easily receive up to $4731 in a single academic year through this Pell Grant and this is one of the most popular forms of college aid. The Pell Grant is offered for 5400 accredited schools and the entire amount can be earned through 18 semesters. However, the US Department of Education will calculate the EFC or the expected family contribution, based on the household income, the number of family members and the total amount of assets. The candidates should be undergraduates to get such grants.

  2. The Academic Competitiveness Grants: The Academic Competitiveness Grant awards around $750 to all those students in the first year of college and $1300 in the second year for college. This Academic Competitiveness Grant is a precursor of the National SMART Grant, which helps the promising students to pay off their college costs. The ACG should be offered in conjunction with the Pell Grant to all those families who are making less than $20,000 in a year. However, here too, you have to qualify for this grant in order to get the money.

  3. National SMART grant: The National SMART grant can offer you funds up to $4000 in the 3rd and 4th academic year for the college students who show promising results in math, physical and life sciences. This kind of grant has been intended to enhance the Pell Grant and this too is available to all those students and families which earn less than $20,000 in a year. In order to be eligible for a National SMART grant, you also need to be getting a Pell grant and should also maintain at least 3.0 grade. He should be a good student in order to get such a grant. The process will usually begin with filling out an application form which is available at the official website of the US Department of Education.


Therefore, when you’re not being able to handle student loans due to the dire financial straits that you’re going through, you should try to get qualified for the federal grants. Check whether or not you’re eligible for the respective grants and fill out the forms to complete the formality of getting the grants. Educate yourself on the important facts about the grants.

 Author bio:

Maria Sanchez is a financial writer and a web enthusiast. She has profound knowledge on the different financial issues that are plaguing the current economy and he also offers solutions to the readers through her articles. She contributes her valuable posts to different financial communities, blogs and websites. Some topics covered by her are the US debt and the impact on the economic growth, ways in which students take grants and many more. You can join the discussion here

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