Grants for low income students are widely available and the search should always start with filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

The application can be long and daunting to those unfamiliar with filling out such paperwork, but at the end of the day it could be well worth it to those who are searching for grants for low income students and their families.

When you receive the results of your FAFSA you will be notified of your EFC (expected family contribution). This is the number those evaluating the FAFSA believe you and your family should be able to contribute toward your college education. If your income is low enough you should receive one or more grants for low income students.

How low does your income have to be to qualify for grants for low income students? The most widely distributed grant for low income students is the Pell Grant. You have a pretty good chance of getting at least some Pell Grant money if your family earns less than $40,000. Sixty two percent of Pell Grant recipients make less than $30,000.
But this is just one of the grants for low income students. There are a good number of other grants that are available for racial minorities and women.

Many of these grants that look at your minority or gender status have a financial need component as well. For African American students the United Negro College Fund is a great place to start. Hispanics can start their search with the Hispanic College Fund, which has a great support system in place that ensures their scholarship recipients actually graduate at a higher rate than most.

It is especially important for you to widen your search for grants for low income students in these tough economic times. Many grants, including the Pell Grant, are slashing their funding up to fifteen percent across the board. The same is happening at the state level, but that doesn’t mean you should stop looking.

The cost of college continues to increase faster than virtually anything else. One study puts the increase in college costs at nearly forty percent over the last five years.

Once you have exhausted the search for grants for low income students what should you do? Student loans are always an option. Obviously grants are better because you don’t have to pay them back. But sixty percent of college graduates today are leaving college with some debt with the average amount of debt amounting to $19,000.

California Student Aid Commission – Cal Grant Program Summary.

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