If you are receiving cash aid or welfare to support your children, you may have given up on dreams of achieving a college education. Don't give up because many different grants and programs are available to help low-income aid recipients to attend and graduate from college. Federal, state, college-based and private grants are available to those who are out of work and receiving welfare benefits.
FAFSA and Pell Grants
The primary federal grant for college is the Pell Grant. Visit your college's financial aid office and complete the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) to determine how much you can receive from the Pell Grant for college. The maximum award of the Pell Grant is $5,550 a year.
Other Federal Grants
Apply for a TEACH grant if you want to study education and become a teacher. Access additional grants based on high financial need like the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or FSEOG. If you intend to study math, science, computers, technology, engineering or qualified foreign language or liberal arts programs, apply for a Science & Mathematics to Retain Talent or SMART Grant.
Every state offers college grants for welfare recipients in some form. If you live in California, apply for the Cal Grant, which provides over $1,500 to pay for living expenses, books and equipment. Texas residents can apply for the TEXAS grant, providing between $1,780 to $6,780 for college. Be aware that most states have residency and high school or community college attendance and graduation requirements for their college grants.
Educational Opportunity Programs
Most states sponsor Educational Opportunity Programs (EOPS), specifically designed to help low-income, minority and non-traditional students successfully complete college. Apply for the EOP program through your college financial aid office. Attend EOP workshops and work with your EOP counselor to access the full grant benefits offered to you.
Private Grants and Tuition Waivers
Access private grants, scholarships and tuition waivers through your school's financial aid and counseling offices. Many community colleges and some four-year colleges will grant fee and tuition waivers to qualified applicants, which means you will pay no tuition or fees. Learn how other welfare recipients have gone from GED to Ph.D. through organizations such as LIFETIME, founded by student mothers who completed their degrees at the University of California, Berkeley while receiving welfare.