You deserve to be rewarded for maintaining a high grade-point average. Fortunately, there are grants -- both federal, state and privately funded -- that will award you for taking your education seriously and achieving a high GPA. Not only do these education grants help cover the costs of tuition, books and whatever other expenses come your way, but they also don’t need to be paid back. It is possible to pay your way through college on grants and scholarships alone, so don’t hesitate to apply for both public and private financial aid.
Academic Competitiveness Grant
The Academic Competitiveness Grant is a public grant from the federal government that is awarded to first- and second-year students who demonstrate both financial need and academic achievement. First-year students must have graduated from high school after Jan. 1, 2006, and they must have been enrolled in a state-recognized advanced program at their secondary school. For a second-year student to qualify, she must have graduated high school after Jan. 1, 2005, and have at least a 3.0 GPA after her first year of college. This grant awards up to $750 per school year for first-year students and $1,300 for second-year students.
National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant
Also based on both academic achievement and financial need, the National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant is a federal grant that is awarded to students who are in their third or fourth year of undergraduate study. To qualify, you must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and be majoring in science, mathematics, technology, engineering or a critical foreign language. This grant awards up to $4,000 per school year for both third- and fourth-year students.
Institutional Merit Grants
Your school offers unique grants and scholarships for academically successful students. Sometimes called Presidential Scholarships or Dean’s Scholarships, hundreds of students are often awarded for maintaining a certain GPA as determined by the school. Your high GPA also may qualify you for more specific grants and scholarships, as well, like those for students of specific disciplines or student athletes. The FinAid website also reports that college juniors and seniors have a better chance at winning institutional financial aid, since fewer upperclassmen apply.
Local and Nationwide Grants
Your community is a good jumping-off point on your search for grants. Query local companies and your own employer about grant and scholarship opportunities -- according to FinAid, your odds of winning a less-competitive local grant can be as good as 1 in 10. If you’re up to a steeper competition, there also are nationwide grant programs for high achievers: find them at scholarship database websites (FinAid recommends the free site Fastweb.com). Be warned, these grants often have far more applicants than local grant programs, so your odds of obtaining such a grant may be lower.