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.
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
- 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.
- Federal Pell Grant: Pell Grants are federal grants only for students pursuing a first bachelor’s degrees, although some may be awarded to students pursuing a post baccalaureate teacher certification program. Pell Grant recipients can receive up to $5,500 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.
- 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.