If you are headed to college this semester or have completed your degree, here are a few programs that can help you. There are grants and loan forgiveness programs that can assist you. Here are few to help start you on your way.
First things, first. It is essential to complete your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA form. This form is generally due annually June 30th (please check your state requirements); however, it becomes available on October 1st each year. It has an 18-month application deadline. Therefore, while the 2019-2020 FAFSA is due June 30th, 2020, the sooner you complete it – the better. Keep in mind, the completion of the application allows for individuals to qualify for both federal and state grants that may be available.
Federal grants for college students
After you have completed your FAFSA, the colleges you select on the form will determine which grants may be available to you. Of course, your expected family contribution (EFC) determines what funds may be available and plays a considerable part in available grants. The higher your EFC – the less likely you will obtain need-based grants. Here are a few grants that can assist you:
- Pell Grants are grants available to those who demonstrate a financial need. The grants are awarded to undergraduate and specific post-baccalaureate students and can provide up to approximately $6,000 of assistance.
- Teach Grants are federal grants available to college students who are seeking a career as a teacher. These grants are different than other grants because students are required to take certain classes and teach at schools that serve K-12 low-income families.
- Smart Grants – are federal grants available to college juniors and seniors based on need and merit seeking careers in STEM, certain foreign languages, or qualifying liberal arts program. Students are required to have a 3.0-grade point average to qualify.
State grants for students
Depending on the state you reside, there could be state grants available for your college education. In the state of Louisiana, we have the Tops program. This program provides funding for college students who meet certain grade point average and ACT scores. It is essential to visit the website or speak with a counselor to determine what grants work for you.
Loan forgiveness programs for grads
Also, the State of Louisiana offers loan forgiveness programs (with rolling deadlines) that may provide repayment of student loans for those in law or healthcare. If the deadline has passed already for this year, please check back next year to see whether you are eligible. Also, if you are not in the state of Louisiana, check this link for forgiveness programs in your area.