Grants to attend college consist of monetary awards that may be applied expressly for covering college costs. This is similar to a scholarship, however grants tend to be issued based on financial need, while scholarships are given based on excellence in academics, athletics, etc. Grants vary in size of the award, yet anything is better than nothing, so definitely fill out applications for any grants you’re eligible for.
At a basic level, a grant is like a gift of money. So, it tends to be understood that it can only be used to pay for a higher education program which has been reviewed by the grant sponsor. The student is expected to complete their particular educational program, and to use this knowledge to make a better future for themselves, and maybe even for others.
You can find grants to attend college from different levels of government, community groups, businesses, unions, nonprofits, schools of higher education, or perhaps the company you work for.
Because the recipients of grants generally have to demonstrate a financial need, a lot of times they are very specific to certain groups of people. Examples might be grants that are geared towards minorities, the disabled, students of low-income families, of a certainage, at a specific degree level, students enrolling in certain school programs (like healthcare or technology), etc.
You can apply for grants from the federal government, such as the familiar Pell Grant and also the FSEOG or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, plus the recently introduced Academic Competitiveness Grant. If you intend to pursue teaching or you are going to work toward a degree in a field that is highly in demand like homeland security or science, there are grants for that too.
If you, or a family member has an association with a particular trade or cultural society you may be qualified for a small grant through this organization. Take the John Edger Thomson Foundation, for example. They offer higher education grants for the daughters of deceased railroad employees.