The federal government awards several types of grants to college students with demonstrated financial need. In order to be considered for any federal aid, whether a loan or a grant, a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be filled out on-line, and a new one must be submitted for each academic year that a student requests financial aid. Awards under federal and most state aid programs are based on demonstrated financial need. The information a student provides on the FAFSA helps to determine financial need.
The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a federal grant that is awarded to students who demonstrate great financial need. Because it is a grant, it does not need to be repaid.
To qualify for an FSEOG award, a student must:
- Complete the FAFSA
- Hold a high school diploma or GED certificate
- Be enrolled in an eligible undergraduate program
- Demonstrate financial need
- Be a U. S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
- Be eligible to receive a Pell Grant
Aid may not be awarded to students in prison, those with drug convictions or those who do not maintain satisfactory academic progress. Federal aid is awarded for each academic year. In order to get funding for subsequent years of study, a new FAFSA must be submitted each year.
The FSEOG awards are limited. The Department of Education funds a set amount to the program each year. Although FSEOG grants are federally funded, they are administered through participating colleges. More than 3800 colleges in the United States participate, but not all participate. Each participating school awards the grants on a first-come first-serve basis to eligible students. Once the grant allotment is dispersed by an institution for an academic year, remaining students who may qualify for the funds cannot receive an award that school year. Grants range from $100 to $4,000 per academic year.
An undergraduate student who receives FSEOG aid also receives a Pell Grant. All students who qualify will receive the full amount of a Pell Grant because the Department of Education gives each participating school enough funds for each student who meets the financial requirements.
Awards under the FSEOG program are dispersed by the educational institution. Each sets its own policy of dispersal, so a student should check to see whether aid will be given as cash or applied to a student’s account. Funds must be dispersed twice in an academic year or once per term. If an institution is on a trimester or quarter system, dispersal may be more often.