Government Grants to Pay for College

Most people have heard of federal grants for college, such as Pell grants, but there are grants out there that fund all kinds of projects and programs, including helping you pay off your student loans. Grants fund everything from HIV education, wildlife rehabilitation, improving technology, to social justice programs.


There is a big difference between grants and loans. With loans, money must be paid back, but with grants the money is awarded more as a gift – there is no repayment of the money awarded in grants. However, there are strings attached - certain requirements must be met in order to receive grants.

Who gives money in the form of grants for college? It’s typically government agencies, foundations, and corporations. It’s most common to think of grants from two sources: federal government or private sector. Most of the recipients of grant monies are organizations that have received nonprofit status from the IRS. There are small percentages of private grants that go to other applicants, such as individuals, but all federal grants and a majority of private grants go to nonprofits.

To receive a grant award to pay for college there are two ways to apply. A grant application is formal written request asking for money. Each grant may have different requirements or forms for applying. A grant proposal is less formal, basically a presentation of your ideas and how the money would be spent.

If you do receive a grant, be sure to keep meticulous records on how the money was spent. Some grants require you to submit documents detailing how money was spent, while others only require a project summary. In either case, good record keeping is a good idea.

There are thousands of grants to pay for college out there and you can probably find one that meets the needs of your organization. Applying for a grant is not difficult, but you must educate yourself on the process. After all, there are professionals out there that are full time grant writers. With some hard work and determination, your organization can receive funding for important programs and projects. See how much grant money you're eligible to receive now.

Download the complete Guide to Government Grants to learn exactly how to find and obtain free government grant money.