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Boiled down to their essence, student grants can be described in two words: free money. And that’s exactly what they are. You apply for one of the thousands available, qualify, and the organization, whether it be the federal government or an outside agency, gives you the money to pursue your education. The last three steps are quick and painless; it’s the first that presents the biggest hurdle. Finding and applying for a student grant can be a real headache, so before you begin the process, it’s best to know exactly what you’re working with.
What is a Grant?
To give a more precise answer, grants are a little more complex than just free money. They are a form of economic aid that is given out to specific people for specific purposes, in order for the receiver to be able to accomplish some action that is in line with the giver organization’s purposes. For student grants, the end purpose usually means that someone is funding your education.
Who gives out Grants?
Governments: There are over a thousand federally funded student grants, worth a total of more than $400 billion dollars a year. The application process requires filling out a FAFSA form.
Schools: Ask your art school for more information. Many colleges, both public and private, have a fund set up to assist the most financially needy of their students. The money from alumni donations and other endowments often goes into these types of grants. For many schools, you are automatically qualified for a grant once you apply and submit you financial information. Again, FAFSA is an important part of the equation.
Other organizations: There are a multitude of independent companies and agencies that have grants available for students. Qualifications vary, from having a family member who works in a particular company to being a published artist in a particular magazine.
Grant Resource Sites
The task of searching out and applying for grants may seem daunting at the beginning, but tough it out! Student grants are designed and set up specifically to help those who need it, not to make anything more difficult for you. Don’t forget that free money hangs in the balance—and that’s a tantalizing reward that you might well regret passing up in the future.