The average cost of a four-year degree taken at an in-state college (ie the state that a student is a resident of) has skyrocketed to an average of $60,000. That means that more students than ever need all the help they can get to be able to afford to pursue a degree at all.

Federal and private student loans are there of course but many students also know that they really need to investigate all the possible student grants for college that might be available to them. Student grants for college are different to loans, this is money that never needs to be paid back. But who on earth would give out such monetary rewards, especially in the current financial climate? We set out to find out:

Student Grants for College – Federal Student Grants – Uncle Sam does give out federal grants for college and although they are relatively small in the face of things, every little thing helps. Since 1972, the federal Pell Grant has been the largest federal college grant program in the US, annually awarding over five million grants, ranging from $400-$4,310 per academic year to low-income students across the country. Check out also this post on Black Woman Grants!

Pell Grants are awarded based upon a family’s income. The average Pell Grant being made these days hovers somewhere around the $2,500 mark and most of those awards are made to students whose family income is under $25,000 (although in theory, a student can qualify as long as their family income is under $50,000, but the award is unlikely to be as high.)

The Academic Competitiveness Grant was launched in 2006 by the Federal government to provide extra help to Pell Grant recipients whose academic performance was considered rather exceptional. This grant is only available to college freshman and sophomores though. The two year grant provides up to $850 the first year and as much as $1,500 for the second. To receive that second year though, a student must maintain their good grades and don’t be surprised that the number of female college students is higher than male students.

Another federal offering in the student grants for college arena is the SMART grant (which stands for National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent) This grant is available to Pell grant recipients who have demonstrated they excel in various math and science fields. This grant can be worth up to $4,500 but is only available to juniors and seniors in an undergraduate degree program.

Most of these grants will be covered when a student submits there basic FAFSA form every year. If you are hoping to qualify for a SMART grant though make sure an appropriate major is clearly stated on that FASA form before you submit it.

Student Grants for College – State Grants

Every state in the US does offer student grants for college. Some are income based while others are merit-based. Most must be used to pay for college within the state but there are some exceptions to that rule in certain areas of the country. The best place to find out what grants your state offers is to visit their Department of Education website.