Show Me the Money! Part 3: Grants

By RENE TREZISE, Director of Marketing and Communications, Potomac State College

Grants are another type of preferable financial aid because repayment is not required.

However, unlike scholarships that can be awarded based on qualifications ranging from financial need to affiliation with a specific organization or place of employment, grants are based strictly on financial need.

Typically, there are three types of grants available:

Federal Pell Grant - aid that is awarded to undergraduates who have not earned a bachelor's or professional degree. The amount a student receives will depend on the student's financial need, the student's cost to attend college, whether the student is full-time or part-time, and the student's plans to attend college for a full academic year or less.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) - these grants are for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Priority is given to students who receive Federal Pell Grants.

This is a campus-based program because it is administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school.

State-specific Grants -state grants are usually awarded to eligible residents who demonstrate substantial financial need and attend public or private institutions of higher education in that particular state.

In the state of West Virginia these are the:

Higher Education Grant - a program for qualified students who demonstrate financial need, meet academic performance standards and are pursuing a certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree in either a public or private institution in West Virginia or Pennsylvania. Grants are renewable up to eight semesters.

HEAPS (Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student Grant) - this program encourages and enables needy students to study part-time, achieve educational goals and improve the workforce in West Virginia.

For further information regarding both the Higher Education Grant and HEAPS go to http://www.hepc.wvnet.edu/ or http://www.wvmentor.org.

Grants, like scholarships, have eligibility requirements that must be met by each applicant. To apply for a grant the student must complete the following:

1.) Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid.) A FAFSA must be filed every year that a student wishes to apply for financial aid. The FAFSA must be RECEIVED by the federal processor no later than March 1, in order to receive maximum consideration for aid.

2.) Meet state residency requirements prior to the date of application for the state grant program.

3.) Be a high school graduate or equivalent.

4.) Demonstrate financial need.

To learn more about the grant programs and their eligibility requirements, check with one of the following sources:

All "Tips for the College Bound" columns are available at http://www.newstribune.info.

WV Apply, Admission and Financial Aid Information http://www.wvapply.com

WV Mentor http://www.wvmentor.org

 

Mineral County Technical Center at http://mctc.mine.tec.wv.us/college.htm (304-788-4240)

Potomac State College of West Virginia University at http://www.potomacstatecollege.edu or (304-788-6820 or toll free: 1-800-262-7332)

 

Eastern Community and Technical College at http://www.eastern.wvnet.edu (304-434-8000; or toll free: 1-877-982-2322)

 

Community and Technical College System of West Virginia at http://www.wvtechprpe.wvnet.edu (304-558-2411)