Grants are free money! Like scholarships, most have criteria that students must meet, whether that criteria is merit-based, need-based, topic-based. There really isn't much difference between scholarships and grants – both are aid that doesn't have to be repaid, although a student must be a US citizen to receive federal grants.

Most grants are need-based and require that the student complete the FAFSA before they can be considered for grant-aid.

Federal grants:

  • Federal Pell Grant – The amount available changes yearly and depends on your need, cost of attendance, status as a full-time or part-time student, plans to attend for a full academic year or less.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) – Administered directly by the college's financial aid office. You can receive between $100-$4000 per year, depending on your need and other factors. FSEOG funds are limited at schools and are therefore distributed on a first come, first-served basis, so it is important to complete the FAFSA as early after Jan. 1 as possible.
  • TEACH Grants – Up to $4000 per year. For students who are completing coursework needed to begin a career in teaching.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant – Student must have had a parent or guardian in U.S. armed forces who died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11.

State grants:

  • North Carolina Community College Grant – Need-based aid for students attending a community college in NC with EFCs through 8,500. Ranges between $150-$1700. Works with Pell Grants and Lottery Scholarships to provide a floor of $4,445. Administered by CFI under the direction of NCSEAA.
  • University of North Carolina Need-Based Grant – Need-based aid ranging from $500-$4200 for students attending any one of the 16 UNC institutions.
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