Exploring Eligibility: ‘Where Do I Find Grants For My Education?’

The ever-increasing cost of higher education understandably has students turning to the federal government for assistance – through loans, grants, and work-study programs.Exploring Eligibility blog seriesThe good news is that there are plenty of programs available for students; however, you won’t find them on Grants.gov. Instead, your go-to resource for information about student funding opportunities is the website of the United States Department of Education, ED.gov.

So you’re telling me that Grants.gov does not offer grants for education?

Grants.gov does, in fact, offer federal government grants for education-related programs. It’s important to understand, however, that these education grants are for organizations, institutions, local governments, and – in some cases – businesses to implement an education-related program. 

These grant recipients carry out specific educational programs and projects that benefit a segment of the public. You can find them by visiting the main Search page and selecting Education under the Category search criteria on the left side of the page.

Here’s an example: This grant program from the Department of Education awards research grants to entities that are studying “education practices that support learning and improve academic achievement and access to education opportunities for all students.” Applicants for this grant must have the “ability and capacity to conduct scientifically valid research,” which will inform the department’s ongoing efforts to strengthen education in communities across the country.

Grant programs like these are not for individual students, but for entities that support education through their missions or lines of business.

You mentioned local governments. Can I receive federal funding through my city or county government?

You may be eligible for a grant or another form of financial assistance through a local government office or university, but you would need to meet the eligibility requirements outlined by the federal government’s rules for distributing the funding.

For example, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a grant for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.

“The FSEOG program is administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school and is therefore called ‘campus-based’ aid,” reads the program description on ED.gov. The website cautions that “not all schools participate. Check with your school’s financial aid office to find out if the school offers the FSEOG.”

If your school does offer this program and you want to apply for the grant, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).

FAFSA – I’ve heard that acronym before. Is it important?

It’s very important. You must complete the FAFSA in order to be considered for the Perkins Loan Program, FSEOG (explained above), federal work-study programs, Pell Grants, and Direct Loans.

The Department of Education has some great resources to walk you through the process of completing the FAFSA.

The grants and loans mentioned above are your best bet for finding additional funding to support your education.

Does the Department of Education offer any other grant programs for students?

There are three other grant programs for individuals: the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad—Bilateral Projects, the Fulbright-Hays—Group Projects Abroad Program, and the Mary Switzer Research Fellowships.

These grant opportunities have their own separate application processes. Before applying, carefully read the eligibility requirements for each grant.

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