Scholarships and grants don’t need to be repaid, making them the best ways to pay for college! Here are a few of the differences between the two.
Grants are free money for college. They are need based, so the first step to receiving one is to complete the FAFSA. Once your college receives your FAFSA information (they receive it automatically as long as you add their school code to your FAFSA), they will know what grants you qualify for. Your school will then notify you of any grants you received by including them in your offer of financial aid. Grant funds are sent directly to the college which applies the funds toward your tuition, fees, room and board. If there is money left over, you can use it to pay for books and other education-related expenses.
There are two types of grants.
- Federal Pell Grants
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
Scholarships are also free money for college. However, you typically have to “work” harder for them by researching and applying for each one. They are usually merit based on certain criteria, like academics, sports, volunteering, a skill, etc.
When applying for one, you should never have to pay a fee. If you do, it’s not a legitimate opportunity, and you should walk away! But don’t let this discourage you. There are so many places to look for scholarships.
- Your high school counselor
- The college’s financial aid office
- Bank of North Dakota’s College Handbook
Another great scholarship opportunity for students who graduated from a North Dakota high school or who were home educated in North Dakota is North Dakota Dollars for Scholars. You can create a profile and update it any time. Scholarship applications are open January 1 – April 1 every year for current high school students, students returning to college after some time away and students currently in college.