Understanding How Grants For College Work

The key to understanding grants for college is understanding the principle of free money –there isn’t any free money. Money is often gifted to students for a particular reason, perhaps sports or high test scores, but while these scholarships don’t have strings attached, grants do. Scholarships are money you earn ahead of time – perhaps by studying hard and getting the grades you need to qualify or perfecting a sport from the time you were five years old. Grants are money that you earn after the fact.

How Grants for College Work

Grants for college are offered by a few different entities. You can find grants available from the government, private companies and the university you’re attending. These grants have application processes and once you’ve applied and been approved, you are awarded a sum of money or the money is paid directly to the college on your behalf. The funds are used for school purposes. Sometimes they have very specific purposes such as paying for your tuition and books, while other times you have full discretion on how to spend the money.

Normally you’re not terribly concerned with the grants during your college years – it’s after the fact that the true nature of the college grants is revealed. There are three types of money given to students in college. With student loans, you borrow funds and then pay the money back after you graduate and presumably get a good job. Scholarships you “earn” ahead of time with hard work and applications. These do not have to be paid back, but are very hard to get thanks to stiff competition. Grants appear to be free money because they don’t have repayment plans like loans. Or rather they don’t have repayment plans so long as you meet the conditions of the grant.

The Conditions of Grants for College

A grant is gifted to you for a reason. It has conditions. A nursing school grant, for example, is given to you to pay for a medical program. You are expected to finish the program and then, more often than not, work as a nurse in a particular area for a set period of time. If you fail to meet these criteria, the grant is taken away. Of course, since you’ve already spent it on tuition or the like, you’ll just have to repay it over time much like you would a student loan. You earn the grant by working it off or by paying it off – it’s certainly not free.

When Grants for College Work Perfectly

Grants for college are a terrific thing for many students, despite the conditions, because the students have every intention of following through on the plans. The nursing student from above might love her nursing program and the grant is just a way to help fund her graduation. She’d graduate from the program with or without the grant. She also has every intention of working in the nursing field after graduation, so the qualifications for the grant aren’t even an issue – she was going to take those steps anyhow.

A word of caution, however, for those who are not set in a particular path for college and a career. If you apply for and accept a grant, be sure that you’re on a particular path that suits the grant. Otherwise, you might be far better off with a student loan than the hassles of a college grant you’re not going to use properly.