After touching on scholarships, it only seems natural to discuss another “free money” component of financial aid — grants. So, what are the differences between scholarships and grants?
- Grants are almost always dependent on financial need
- Almost all grants require the FAFSA
- Grants are primarily distributed by universities, the federal government, or state government
- Grants may require a student to work a specific job after graduation
- Grants may (in rare situations) require the student to repay a portion of the award amount
Many grants do not come with labor or repayment strings attached, but it’s important to understand the terms of any grant you receive. Some grants – like the Pell Grant – may require students to repay a portion of the grant for not completing an academic term or reducing their course load from full to part-time. Similarly, grants with labor requirements, such as the TEACH grant, may require students to repay the grant award amount if the student does not fulfill the work requirements upon graduating.
We recommend including grants on your financial aid comparison spreadsheet. It may also help to note if there are any requirements for the continuation of your grant, such as minimum course credits, area of study, work obligations, etc. Remember, most grants are for a single year, and you will need to submit the FAFSA form every year while you’re enrolled in order to reapply for grants. This also means that grant award amounts may vary from year to year if anything changes in your family’s financial circumstances.
Finally, it is important to note that while there are many grant opportunities available, some grants have limited funds and are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Fill out your FAFSA application and apply for grants as soon as possible after October 1.
If you haven’t filled out your FAFSA (or ORSAA) yet, don’t worry! FAFSA applications can be submitted through June 30.
We have compiled a list of federal and Oregon state grants below. However, there are additional grants you may qualify for. Be sure to check Career One Stop and other scholarship databases to find independent grants (see UFA: scholarships for a list of resources). Click here to find more posts in our series on Understanding Financial Aid.
- Not all schools participate in this federal grant
- Recipients must agree to teach full-time for four full academic years in a high-need field
Note: Many Oregon student aid grants have a limited pool of funds. Apply as close to October 1 as possible. Grants are available for students attending participating Oregon schools.
- Open to students attending community college or university
- Not all schools participate
- DACA students not eligible
- Open to students attending community college
- DACA students eligible
- Provides childcare funding for Oregon students with children
- For children of public safety officers killed or disabled in their line of duty
- For current and former foster children under the age of 26
- For students who are current members of the Oregon National Guard
- Open to students attending community college, public university and some private colleges