Grants and scholarships are often called “gift aid” because they are free money—financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. Grants are often need-based, while scholarships are usually merit-based.
What kinds of federal grants are available?
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) offers a variety of federal grants to students attending four-year colleges or universities, community colleges, and career schools. We’ve given each of our grants its own page:
How do I get a federal grant?
Almost all of our grants (listed above) are awarded to students with financial need. If you are interested in our grants, or in any federal student aid, you have to start by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. You have to fill out the FAFSA form every year you’re in school in order to stay eligible for federal student aid. Once you’ve done that, you’ll work with your college or career school to find out how much you can get and when you’ll get it.
Why would I have to repay all or part of a federal grant?
Here are some examples of why you might have to repay all or part of a federal grant:
You withdrew early from the program for which the grant was given to you.
Your enrollment status changed in a way that reduced your eligibility for your grant (for instance, if you switch from full-time enrollment to part-time, your grant amount will be reduced).
You received outside scholarships or grants that reduced your need for federal student aid.
For a TEACH Grant, you did not meet the requirements of your TEACH Grant service obligation.