Can A College Education Benefit You?

Earning a college degree is one of the best investments you can make in your future. College graduates may have many more opportunities available to them and, on average, the earning potential of a college graduate exceeds the earnings potential of without a degree. Think about it from an employers prospective: if you were choosing a job candidate from a stack of 100's of resumes, who would make it to the top of the stack?

It's crucial for you as the student or parent to understand the process of student financial aid to make sure you explore all the options available to you. The options begin with a FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All students are expected to contribute towards the cost of their college education. Just how much depends on your financial situation and the financial situation of your family. This is referred to as the Expected Family Contribution or EFC.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the form that the Department of Education uses to evaluate and determine the EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Therefore, your process for determining how you will fund your (your child's) education starts by filling out a FAFSA. The analysis that is then performed by the Dep't of Education is based upon your assets, income and other household information. You need to only fill out the FAFSA one time and the Department of Education will communicate directly with the College(s) and University(s) of your choice. You can list these on your application so that the application is transmitted directly to these schools. The FAFSA is the standard that nearly all colleges and universities use to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid which includes loans and GRANTS.

Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. At the office of Federal Student Aid, our 1,200 employees help make college education possible for every dedicated mind by providing more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to more than 15 million students paying for college or career school. They help sponsor millions of American minds pursuing their educational dreams.

There are many groups of organizations that are eligible to apply for government funding opportunities, posted on Typically, most applicant organizations fall into the following categories.

Government Organizations

- State Governments
- Local Governments
- City or Township Governments
- Special District Governments
- Native American Tribal Governments (federally recognized)
- Native American Tribal Governments (other than federally recognized)

Education Organizations
- Independent School Districts
- Public and State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
- Private Institutions of Higher Education
- Public Housing Organizations

Public Housing Authorities

- Indian Housing Authorities

Non-Profit Organizations

- Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
- Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education

Small Businesses

Small business grants may be awarded to companies meeting the size standards that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has established for most industries in the economy. The most common size standards are as follows:

- 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries
- 100 employees for all wholesale trade industries
- $6 million for most retail and service industries
- $28.5 million for most general & heavy construction industries
- $12 million for all special trade contractors
- $0.75 million for most agricultural industries

Individuals Individuals submit funding opportunity applications on their behalf, and not on behalf of a company, organization, institution, or government. If registered as an individual, you are only allowed to apply to funding opportunities that are open to individuals.

Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application used by virtually all two and four-year colleges, universities, and career schools for awarding Federal, state, and college-funded student aid.

Next Steps: Info and Application

Comprehensive Education Grants

The following categories are all-inclusive. You must browse the categories and select the programs you're most interested in.

Next Steps: Education Grant Categories

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