There are two types of grants available to help military students pay for college: Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs). Generally, to receive a grant, you must be an undergraduate student (someone who hasn’t earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree). You can be enrolled full time or part time.
How much can you get?
Federal Pell Grants — Award amounts can change yearly. The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2013-14 award year (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015) is $5,635. The amount you get, though, will depend not only on your financial need, but also on your costs to attend school, your status as a full-time or part-time student, and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs) — Awards range from $100 to $4,000 a year. FSEOGs are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need—those with the lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC) numbers. Federal Pell Grant recipients receive priority for FSEOG awards.
What’s the difference between these grants?
If you’re eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, you’ll receive the full amount you qualify for—each school participating in the program receives enough funds to pay the Pell amounts for all its eligible students. The amount of other student aid you might qualify for does not affect the amount of your Pell Grant.
Receiving other aid might reduce the amount of your FSEOG award. Also, each school participating in the FSEOG program receives a certain amount of FSEOG funds each year from the U.S. Department of Education. The school’s financial aid office decides how best to award those funds. When all FSEOG funds are used for that award year, no more FSEOG awards can be made for that year—that’s why not everyone who qualifies for an FSEOG might get one.
How will you be paid?
Your school can credit your grant funds to your school account, pay you directly (usually by check), or combine these methods. Also, with your permission, schools can credit your bank account. Schools must disburse funds at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter). Schools that don’t use formally defined, traditional terms must disburse funds at least twice per academic year.