There are a number of scholarship options available for veterans. But scholarships aren’t the only form of financial assistance available. In this article, we want to shift the focus slightly and talk about grants.

Many people are confused about the difference between grants and scholarships. While scholarships are typically merit-based, grants tend to be need-based. And like scholarships, grants can be used in conjunction with either the Montgomery or Post 9/11 GI Bills.

One of the largest providers of grants is the U.S. Department of Education. Their grants fall into three categories:

  • Discretionary
  • Student Grants
  • Formula Grants

Discretionary – This type of grant uses a competitive process similar to many private grants and can be used for other expenses besides education.

Student Grants – Money from these grants are typically used to pay tuition, books and other education-related expenses.

Formula Grants – This type of grant does not use an application process like other grants, and the amounts awarded are calculated based on formulas determined by Congress.

The most popular education grants

Let’s take a look at a small sampling at some of the most popular grants:

Pell Grant – FAFSA – Up to $5,920 per year – Need-based, this grant is for low-income students and is awarded by the school. The amount awarded is governed by the Expected Family Contribution, cost of attending the school, student status, and if attending for a full year or not.

Federal Student Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) – FAFSA – $100 to $4,000 per year – This grant is need-based also, so the amount awarded varies depending on the amount of need along with when the application is submitted (first-come, first-served), the amount of other aid received and the availability of funds from your school.

TEACH Grant – FAFSA – Up to $4,000 per year – For students who are either in, or will be in, a course of study resulting in a teaching degree. Students receiving the grant agree to teach in a high-need field, at a school that serves low-income students for at least four years after completing college.

Military Award Program (MAP) – Electronic Smartphone App:  Apple – Android– $1,000 – Active duty, reservists including National Guard, honorably discharged service members or veterans can apply. Must be used for training at one of the participating career colleges or vocational/technical institutes.

As shown, the application process for the first three grants is via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filling out a FAFSA application will show the type and amount of grant aid available based on the information on the application.

There is money available for students who want to go to college. For example, I recently read of a student who has almost finished her PhD and will graduate with no student debt.

The average four-year undergraduate today walks across the stage with a diploma in one hand and over $20,000 in student debt in the other. So far, she has received over $150,000 in scholarships and grants. Get your share by applying for the money that is there for you to use!

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.