Grant Your Self A Better Education For Less

By: Carl Hampton

“I'm not going to college because I just can't afford it." How many times do we hear those words form worried high school juniors and seniors. It's no wonder they think like that when tuition fees have been rising anywhere between 2% to as much as 26%. Before we all get lost in the Doom and Gloom there is a lot of GOOD news out there, you just have to know where to find it.

There really is an endless amounts of grants, scholarships and loans (those should be your last avenue), there really is no way a student cannot afford to attend college. Most students will be able to meet the following qualifications for a Pell Grant, (financial need), you must be attending a 4-year university you cannot be an inmate at a federal prison. That may well sound crazy but if your child is in a local penal facilities, they can still receive a Pell Grant. Nonetheless, if you meet those requirements, you are also eligible for the Academic Competitiveness Grants and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grants.

You must as a high school student, actively participate in math, science, or a language. You can see the curriculum criteria by states at . Margaret Spellings, the U.S. Department of Education Secretary, says that the purpose of this program is to involve students in what she calls the “global economy" of today's world. “Math, science and critical foreign language skills are the new currencies."

More than 500,000 students will be receiving these grants throughout the nation which amounts to more than $790 million dollars. The grant payments can be an additional $750 during freshman year; $1,300 during sophomore year; and up to $4,000 during junior and senior year. So lets do some math on the subject, if a student attends a public California university (say UCLA), the tuition fees would be somewhere around $7,000 for an in state student. If that student is granted the $4,000 by their last year, just from the SMART Grant, that leaves $3,000. Now subtract another $1,000 from the Pell Grant itself, and we are left with $2,000 left outstanding to be paid, thats $38.46 per week, not too much for an education.

For those students who have yet to apply for financial aid, visit or call for information on eligibility. And don't worry, these grants are not temporary. The grant amount is said to increase over the next five years.

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