How to Apply for Federal Education Grants Columbia SC
How to Apply for Federal Education Grants
If you’re off to college and you’re not exactly rich, it might be difficult to fund your college education without financial aid. After all, if you’re the eldest and your parents are still sending three or four of your siblings to school, it’s going to be a pretty tough competition—one that you wouldn’t want to get into. You have two options: you can either apply for student loans which you will have to pay off once you have a job, or you can try applying for Federal Education grants.
Grants are better than loans because you won’t have to pay for these after you’ve graduated. When you apply for a federal education grant, you give yourself a chance to be your state’s or the USA’s scholar, and your schooling will either be subsidized or fully paid by the government. You shouldn’t worry about the application process either because it’s fairly easy. All you have to do is to keep up with the deadlines.
Types of federal education grants
There are two types of grants you can choose from: need-based and merit-based. If your family’s income is below the middle bracket, you can have a shot at need-based education grants. This means that you should file for your family’s tax income before you apply for the FAFSA. This will save you a lot of time in the application process. If you’re counted as a financially disadvantaged student, then you can get the Federal Pell Grant or the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant. Another need-based grant is included in the Montgomery G.I. Bill. This is an educational assistance program that’s given to students who have served under the military.
If you’re an achiever at school (that is, if your GPA tops your batch, and you’ve won academic state championships while you were in high school), then you can apply for a merit-based education grants. This means that you should ask for your school transcripts and prepare a portfolio of your achievements to be eligible for this grant. Most of these grants are given by the states themselves, and it’s best for you to find out your state’s deadline. Some deadlines are as early as January, so you can file as early as your junior year in high school, just to be sure.
When is the best time to apply?
The best time for students to apply for the FAFSA is January of every year. To save time, you should prepare your documents as early as a few months before you apply. It’s more convenient to apply for this online. It’s also possible to have the forms and documents snail-mailed to you, but this will take an awful lot of time.
What documents will they ask for?
When you’re applying for the FAFSA, you should have your Social Security Number, your driver’s license, your bank records, investment records and income tax returns. Even if you’re applying for the merit-based grants, you still need to have these handy. After all, you have to prove that you’ve been very diligent in paying for your taxes if you’ll be using the state’s tax money to get through school. Some programs will also ask for your academic records and other forms of documentation (if you’re using a federal education grant for the military, etc.), so keep track of all the requirements before you apply.
How do I apply online?
Just type in Fafsa.ed.gov and you’ll be taken to the FAFSA website. Here, you’ll be able to download all the necessary worksheets, a list of all the needed documents, and a list of almost all state and FAFSA deadlines. When you choose to apply for a federal education grant online, you will have to apply for a PIN. This PIN will let you access your account exclusively. It’s best if you apply for the FAFSA from your home if you have internet connection at home. This is because it’s very risky to open your account from a public computer. If you must use a public or school computer, always make sure that you clear the cache of your browser.
You can acquire your PIN by supplying the FAFSA with your social security number and your birth date. Your PIN will be emailed to your immediately and snail-mailed within 7 to 10 days. Once you have your PIN, you can fill out the worksheets and have your parents and yourself sign the papers. Remember, file all of these electronically, and don’t mail FAFSA your original documents. You need the hard copies for yourself.
It only takes an estimated one hour and fifteen minutes to complete the application for these federal education grants as long as you file them electronically. That is, of course, if you already have all the necessary documents on hand. It’s best for you to read the application details first (located at the sidebar of the FAFSA website) before starting on your application. Have digital copies of all of the necessary documents (scan them beforehand) to have a breezier application process.
If you want, you can also print a FAFSA worksheet first and take a peek at all the information you will need to provide. This is handy especially if you still have to ask the school admin or your parents to know the details. Everything that you save in your FAFSA application account will be kept in the database for 45 days or until the FAFSA deadline. Remember to fill out all of the information accurately because the feds will be asking your school and the state to verify everything you’ve filed. In other words, now is not the time to forge those important documents because you won’t be able to get away with it. You will be fined and/or sent to jail for forging documents, especially your income tax returns.
If there are financial details about your family that are not put into writing (for example, if you’re spending a lot of money to pay for a family member’s medication needs), you should also specify this in your application. This will heighten your chances of being awarded with need-based federal education grants.