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How Minority Education Grants Work

There are various avenues for obtaining money for a minority’s higher education. 

The first step in deciding how you should pursue obtaining academic funds is understanding the differences between a scholarship and a grant. 

- Scholarships are generally merit-based, meaning money is offered as a reward for a student’s performance. For example, athletes generally receive academic funding for their excellent sports contributions; likewise, superb students are awarded academic financial support for their promising intellect. 

- Grants, however, are usually awarded on a basis of financial need. Grants particularly focus on minority students to address and represent their underrepresented unique situations and challenges. 

There are two general categories of minority grants: ethnic and non-ethnic. 

- Ethnic minority grants are meant to provide financial assistance based on a student’s cultural heritage. This includes, but is not limited to: African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, etc. 

- Non-ethnic minority grants are awarded on a basis of need. This includes grants for disabled students to embrace higher education as well as grants for women to enter the work force and competitively compete with men. 

There are five important places to search and reach out for financial aid, assistance, and grants:

1. FAFSA: Generally, to receive ANY type of government, private, public, or university based financial assistance, a FAFSA form MUST be filled out and submitted correctly, whether or not FAFSA qualifies you for their individual financial support. 

2. Pell Grant: This is a competitive and popular grant that offers a max of ~$5,000 per student per year for academic support. Criteria used for award are: cost for tuition, financial need, and enrollment status and duration. 

3. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): This grant is reserved for the most financially suppressed students. This program is implemented through 3800 schools, so if you are interested in receiving this grant you must attend one of these FSEOG schools. 

4. Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG): This program is focused specifically on students of engineering, science, math, and technology based educations because of the emerging high demand of these fields coupled with the low enrollment rate of these kinds of directed students. Generally, this is awarded to 1st and 2nd year students to give them a proper jump start. 

5. National SMART Grants: This program is a counterpart to the ACG for students in the third and fourth years of their undergraduate degrees. 

This is only a partial list of minority grants; comprehensive research or speaking with an academic advisor will illustrate that there are many different avenues for obtaining minority grant money for higher education, but these programs are the most logical starting point.