February 4, 2010 | Adam Sorensen | Leave a comment Although college Pell Grants may be the most popular kind of grant, there are many other options. The purpose behind a grant is to help individuals gain a higher education that may otherwise not have had the opportunity to do so. There are also work study grants, minority grants, and opportunity grants that not only help students earn a degree but also improve the diversity and educational experience in the classroom. Federal Work Study Through Federal Work Study (FWS) undergraduate and graduate student swith financial need can have a part-time job which allows them to earn money for education expenses. Wages are typically paid at least monthly and the pay must be at least as high as minimum wage if not higher. But the money that you earn can’t exceed the total of the FWS award so administrators will determine how many hours you will work depending on the award amount, your class schedule and how well you’re doing academically. But if a student’s grade point averages slip below a certain number then they may not be able to continue working through the FWS program. Typically, work study jobs are related to their course of study and they encourage community service. So if students work on campus, most likely they will work for the school. But if they work off-campus then they will most likely work for a private nonprofit organization or public agency. But different schools may have even more restrictions so it’s important to speak with a financial advisor. And there are over 3,400 postsecondaryÂ institutions that participate in the FWS program. So before enrolling in a school make sure that they are a part of the program. Also, differentÂ schools have different amounts of funding available to students and they can’t receive more than the amount that was determiend. But in order to qualify students must first fill out a FAFSA applicationÂ in order to find out if they qualify based on a number of factors. On the FAFSA though students must indicate that they are interested in the FWS program. And students need to find out when the application deadline is for the program because each school chooses their own deadline for the Federal Work Study and it’s usually before the FAFSA deadline. So apply as soon as possible because the funding available is based on a first come first serve basis so if students apply late or after the deadline then they may not make it into the program. Minority grants There are two main categories within minority grants. One of which is ethnic. This means that there are grants available to African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, and women. The intention behind the grant is to give more opportunities that may otherwise not have been available to them.Â Another is to diversify education and professional fields because with greater diversity comes a better environment. But the other category is non-ethnic minority grants. This offers need based aid to individuals who have physical barriers which may otherwise have prohibited or placed them in a disadvantaged situation. These grants allow them to pursue an education and professional career. These grants are for individuals that are challenged with different types of disabilities including physical but also those with learning disabilities like ADD or autism. Grants are funded by the state and federal government so there are plenty of grants out there but many are never filled because people don’t apply for them. If you are a minority then spend some time researching because there are a lot out there. Why pay for college out of pocket or go into debt financing an education when there’s free money out there? Now for the application process students need to locate the grants and review the due dates and timelines required. Different grants come with different requirements so make sure you have completed everything before you turn it in. In the meantime fill out the application, collect references, and complete an essay regarding your goals in regard to higher education and future career. Then send it in and follow up with the application. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Undergraduates that have extreme financial need are eligible for this type of grant. It is for recipients that qualified for the Pell Grants but they have the lowest EFCs which are based on how much a student and family are expected to earn and contribute to the students education in the upcoming year. The grants range in value from $100 to $4,000 depending on financial need, the schools they will be attending, and policies in regard to the financial aid office at that particular school. Another great thing about Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is that they don’t have to be paid back. So students can qualify for this free money and after graduation they don’t have to make payments on the loan or interest. The government just hands over the money so that these students can get an education. These grants are available at an estimated 4,000 postsecondary institutions. And the school determines how much the students are eligible for. In order to qualify for these grants students must fill out a FAFSA form and be judged as having the greatest need for financial aid. But before spending all the time filling out the FAFSA form make sure that students meet these criteria first.Â In order to qualify you must be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen, not have a bachelors degree, not in default on any federal student loan, and don’t have a Federal Pell Grant overpayment and you must meet the minimum grades requirement.