Getting money assistance for the payment of your college, or further educational aspirations, is time consuming, exhaustive and necessary. In this article I hope to assist you in finding college money in a grant.

What is a grant … perhaps the most desirable form of financial aid used to pay for college. Grants are a form of federal, state or institutional financial aid that does not need to be paid back. They are based upon financial need, as calculated by the federal aid program. The first step in applying for government grants is by completing the FAFSA application.

The FAFSA is available on October 1 each year, and the federal deadline is June 30. Experts say that the sooner a student submits the FAFSA, the more opportunities that student will have for aid.

Popular undergraduate grants range from general grant programs that provide monetary incentive to low-income and disadvantaged students to specialized grants in science, math, engineering, and technology (SMET subjects). The grant options for undergraduate women or minorities are even more bountiful.

High school students enrolling in college —- do not overlook your college’s grant handouts. Most smaller, private colleges are quite generous when it comes to kicking in funds to augment financial aid. They are more interested in attracting quality students regardless of financial ability to pay. Considering the fact that scores of professional organizations have active educational funds that help foster their fields of interest, it’s no wonder that it is just as easy to shop for grants based on subject or field of interest. Corporations spend millions of dollars offering internships, fellowships, scholarships and grants intended to attract academically driven and talented students to their corporate folds.

When we hear talk of college grants the discussion immediately raises questions about FEDERAL GRANTS. Well, the federal government is putting more money into the hands of college students than ever before and much of the impetus behind it is the No Child Left Behind Act.

The measures help to assure that more primary and secondary schools are held accountable for making sure kids get the attention and education they deserve without prejudices. Which means a much higher percentage of high school students are earning diplomas. More students stand a chance of attending college when the right financial and social resources are available to them along with educators with the know-how and experience to guide them to the right academic and career choices.

The following federal grant programs offer hundreds of thousands of students the necessary assistance that makes college a financial reality:

The Pell Grant, in existence since 1972, remains one of the staples of federal funding for millions of low-income students. This fundamental grant program is somewhat at the mercy of the federal government’s budgetary and political whims, but nevertheless remains a valuable source of funding for impoverished undergraduate students.

The Academic Competitiveness (AC) Grant is available to undergraduate freshman and sophomores with outstanding academic records and with demonstrated aptitudes for leadership and service. Qualifying candidates must also be Pell Grant eligible.

The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART Grant) picks up where the Academic Competitiveness Grant leaves off – with $4,000 awards to undergraduate juniors or seniors studying computer science, engineering, mathematics, or sciences. Applicants must be eligible for and receiving the Pell Grant.

Another possible source of college money are State Grants. Many states administer grant programs to resident students based on merit, need and even area of study. The best way to discover what is available in your state is to simply go to your state’s website and look into the State University Administration.

Next let’s investigate popular MINORITY GRANTS. Over the last decade the percentage of minorities graduating with a four-year degree has risen sharply. More African-Americans are in college now than ever before.

Today, the 39 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country offer top-notch programs and administer scholarships and grants just like other colleges and universities. Go to to learn where to find the richest vein of African-American student grants.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS. African-American women are perhaps one of the most disadvantaged minorities. In fact, this group of students will find countless sources for grants that target women and minorities, especially those grants rewarding involvement in specialized fields of study.

HISPANIC STUDENTS. Hispanics have recently overtaken African Americans in number, but as far as education is concerned most educators sadly label the group as a whole “under-educated.” This means that most do not pursue education beyond high school and those that do are satisfied with a vocational or two-year degree. Cultural, social and economic problems have held past generations of students back from four-year college programs. Despite the fact that numbers remain small, more Hispanic students are finding the means both socially and financially to attend college, often via Hispanic grants. In Texas, California, Florida and Arizona, at least a quarter of the college student bodies are Hispanic and the colleges in these states offer Hispanic students need-based grant and scholarship opportunities.

NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENTS. Native Americans constitute the smallest minority group of all. The supreme irony is that we call this their native land, and yet they are plagued with some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds of all. Like many Hispanics, the majority of Native Americans have no family history of higher education. Most Native Americans consider a high school diploma the final goal. This remains a primary reason that Native American grants are so critical.

ASIAN AMERICAN STUDENTS. The fastest growing ethnic population in America is Asian American. Grants for Asian American students are commonly sponsored by ethnic organizations or available as general ethnic minority grants through the government or colleges and universities.

GRANTS FOR WOMEN. For generations women were disregarded on most college campuses. Many educators argue that women are in general not as engaged on a coeducational campus as they are on a women’s campus. Private women’s colleges have continued to thrive thanks to the generosity of corps of alumnae, innovative curricula, and expanded programs, such as athletics, that round out a more complete educational experience.

Grant programs designed for women promote their participation in underrepresented degree programs such as the sciences, mathematics and business. One of the most influential organizations, the American Association of University Women, offers an outstanding array of grants to minority and disadvantaged women looking to return to college, or pursue a degree for the first time.

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