Learn How to Find College Grants, Scholarships, and Financial Aid for Low-Income Students
Low-income students can find several sources to help them pay for college. In fact, most federal college grants and state-issued college grants are need-based. It is important to remember that the amount of money awarded each year is limited, so students should apply early. Generally speaking, early January is the time to start applying for federal and state financial aid that is to be used for studies the following fall. When the money runs out, even qualified low-income students may find themselves left out. So we recommend applying in early January to ensure the greatest chances of receiving award money to help low-income students pay for college.
The First Step in Applying for Low-Income Student Grants
The first step to receiving one of the available low income grants for college is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You may either print a hard copy or fill out the form online. For the online version you will have to create a Personal Identification Number (PIN). Oftentimes, the college grants issued on the state level will also require you to create a PIN.
From there, low-income students will want to apply for the Pell Grant and then the FSEOG.
The next step would be to investigate additional low-income college grants that are awarded by your state of residence. If the low-income student is also a woman, disabled, or from an ethnic minority, there are additional sources of college grants available.
Sallie Mae Unmet Need Scholarship
If low-income students have been approved for both the Pell Grant and the FSEOG, they should also apply for the Sallie Mae Unmet Need Scholarship. This can assist low-income students if the Pell Grant and FSEOG are not sufficient. The Sallie Mae Fund issues scholarships strictly on financial need. It pays from $1,000 to $3,800. The student’s family must earn less than $30,000 a year.
It is also important to consult your high school counselor for additional information regarding college grants and scholarships. Depending on the field of study the low-income student is interested in, there may be scholarships available. Additional college grants are available for certain field of studies. These college grants, for example, come in the form of nursing education grants, math student grants and teaching-education grants.
Some scholarships do not take financial need into account. They are strictly awarded on academic merit. Other factors that determine the awarding of scholarships include one’s ethnic background, religious background, community service involvement, the profession of one’s parents, including military service or veteran status, or any professional organizations to which one’s parents may belong.
After low-income students check with their high school counselor to learn about college grants and scholarships, it is a good idea to consult the financial offices of the college where the low-income student wishes to attend college. Most college financial offices will be able to provide the latest details about college grants, scholarships, and financial aid to help low-income students make college affordable.