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Need Based Grants

A college degree is considered necessary for securing a good job, opening up opportunities for advancement, and obtaining job security. However, the costs involved in earning a degree deter most bright students from enrolling in a university. In order to tackle this issue and produce a competent workforce, the US government as well as private businesses and individual donors have set up a number of ‘need based grants’. Need based grants offer full or partial tuition coverage and allow more and more students from different walks of life to obtain a higher level of education.

What types of need based grants are available?

A large number of student loans and need based grants are available to students, depending on the area of residence, college, or program in which a student is enrolled in. A grant can be considered as a gift or present that goes towards meeting your educational and living expenses. On the other hand an educational loan needs to be paid back to the original provider. Need based grants are awarded by the federal government on the basis of financial need, which is determined when students fill out their ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid’ (FAFSA).

During the application process, students are required to attach copies of their family’s tax returns and bank account statements. This information is then processed by the Department of Education to determine the amount of a need based grant to be awarded to a particular student.  In addition to the federal government, need based grants are also awarded by state and local government bodies - in addition to that, a number of private businesses and individual donors also award grants to deserving students.

Among federal need based grants, the Pell grant is probably the most sought after in the country. This grant is named after Rhode Island senator Claiborne Pell, and since its inception in 1972, has helped hundreds of thousands of students fulfill their dreams of obtaining a college education. A Pell grant covers between thirty to sixty percent of college tuition fees, and the amount for individual grants has been raised by more than twenty percent between 2008 and 2010. Additionally, more than 25 federal agencies such as NASA run more than nine hundred grant programs across the country.

Over 300 billion dollars are awarded need based grant programs annually, and the success rate of such programs has been phenomenal. Over 80% of students going to college on a need based grant completed their programs within the prescribed time frame, as compared to less than 65% of students who supported themselves through college – a fact which speaks volumes about the success and necessity of need based grants.

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