Grants, like scholarships, are a form of college financial aid that do not have to be repaid. Grants for high school seniors are usually just for undergraduate programs, like vocational programs, associate degrees, or bachelor’s degrees. Federal grants, such as the Pell Grant, are available to high school students along with other federal grant programs. Grants are also available from private organizations, such as corporations and non-profit organizations. The amount of funding available can vary based on the student’s enrollment status, the source of the grant, the amount of unmet financial need, and the type of educational program. However, some grants can cover a significant portion of the tuition.

While grants and scholarships are similar, and almost interchangeable in some cases, grants for high school students are usually awarded based on financial need while scholarships are awarded based on merit and academic performance. To apply for a grant, particularly federal grants, you may need to submit documentation regarding your income and financial needs for college. Privately-funded grants favor financial needs as well, but may also have criteria based on subjects being studied, minority affiliation, or other requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility requirements for grants can vary considerably depending on the type of grant, but most grants prioritize high school seniors who need financial aid to attend college. In the case of federal grants, you must complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to document your financial needs and income status. Some high school student grants will come with additional requirements, such as part- or full-time enrollment or certain majors. For example, the Part-time grant from the Maryland Higher Education commissions requires applicants to demonstrate financial need, be Maryland residents, and enroll in their college program part-time.

Types of High School Senior Grants

  • APA Pre-College Grant Program: The American Psychological Foundation provides up to $20,000 per project in grants in the hopes of encouraging the study of psychology among high school students.
  • Cal Grants A, B, & C: High school seniors in California may apply for these grants that are split into need-based and merit-based and carry up to $9,100 awards toward college tuition and fees.
  • Farther Foundation Student Travel Grant: Chicago-area high school students may receive up to $4,000 to fund an educational trip to a country of their choice.
  • Federal Pell Grant: Pell Grants are federal grants only for students pursuing a first bachelor’s degree, although some may be awarded to students pursuing a post baccalaureate teacher certification program. Pell Grant recipients can receive up to $5,645 per academic year.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): The FSEOG is a grant for students who have received Pell Grants but who still need additional financial aid in order to attend a first baccalaureate program. The amount of money awarded depends upon the applicant’s needs, but students may receive up to $4,000 per year.
  • Georgia Accel Program: A non-need-based grant, the Accel award is available to both public or private school students and home schooled students who are Georgia residents.
  • Missouri Advanced Placement Incentive Grant: For at least two grades of 3 or higher on AP exams, Missouri students can receive this one-time grant of $500.
  • Part-time Grant: This grant from the Maryland Higher Education Commission helps high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree part-time or those who are concurrently enrolled in high school and college courses. Applicants must be Maryland residents and demonstrate financial need to qualify.
  • Texas Grant: The Texas Grant is a government funded grant program for students with financial needs attending a public community college or university in Texas.
  • Thelma Byrum Piano Award: Students 16 and younger can apply for one of these grants from the National Federation of Music Clubs by sending in an audition CD.
  • Vermont Non-Degree Grant: Resident students at high schools with a continuing education program may be eligible for this need-based grant.