An Overview of the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
If you are a student who needs help paying for college, you may have been told to apply for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or FSEOG. This grant is awarded to undergraduate students in need of financial assistance, and unlike a college loan, it does not need to be repaid. A student who is awarded this grant can receive an amount between $100 to $4,000 per year and the amount is determined by the severity of his or her need for financial aid.
To be considered for an FSEOG, you need to be eligible for a Pell Grant. (We will talk more about the Pell Grant later on in this article.) The applicants need to demonstrate that they have a dire financial need, and they should have one of the smallest Expected Family Contributions (EFC) of those who are recipients of the Pell Grant.
The EFC is a number that the federal government determines to be the amount that your family can contribute to your college education. The factors that are taken into consideration when calculating the EFC include assets, household income and the number of individuals in your family who are currently attending college.
All Pell Grant applicants receive funding, but this is not the case with the FSEOG Grant. That’s because this grant is only limited to the amount of funding that is given to a particular institution or college, and once the government has distributed the funding to the schools, it is the school that decides who will receive the funding and for how much. The government covers 75% of the funds, while the school contributes the remaining 25%.
How to Qualify for the FSEOG
Perhaps the most important question that students ask is, how do I qualify for the FSEOG?
To find out, you first need to fill out the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Student Aid. You can do this online by going to this page. You must be able to demonstrate the great need for financial aid, which means that your family’s contribution to your college tuition is zero.
That’s not all. Other requirements need to be met so you can be eligible for this grant.
1. You must be a United States citizen.
2.Your GPA must be above 2.0.
3. You must be an undergraduate currently enrolled in your first Bachelor’s degree program.
The FSEOG Application Process
If you meet the requirements we’ve listed above, you can go ahead and begin the application process.
Step 1: Apply to a college of your choice and be admitted to a program that is eligible for the FSEOG (Bachelor’s degree program).
Step 2: Complete the FAFSA online. You’ll need to provide your social security number as well as that of your parents (if you’re their dependent). Your tax information will also be required, as well as your parents’ (if again, you’re their dependent). Balances of savings and checking accounts, untaxed income, investments and other financial information will also need to be provided.
Step 3: If you’re awarded the grant, the funds will be used to pay for your tuition directly. If you have no outstanding balance, then you will be given a check for the amount of the grant.
The grant works on a first come first served basis, and there is no set amount to be awarded to the student. Once all the funding budget has been given for the year, the school will no longer be able to offer further financial assistance. Another important point to keep in mind is that even if you are awarded the FSEOG for the year, there is no guarantee that you will still receive it next year or the year after that. That is why you need to update your FAFSA annually to ensure you will continue receiving financial aid through this program.
What is the Difference Between the FSEOG and the Pell Grant?
Earlier we have mentioned the Pell Grant. It is one of the leading products that college financial aid officers and guidance counselors rely on so the school can provide financial aid to students in need.
The Federal Pell Grant is not a loan, so you don’t need to pay back the amount awarded to you. It is, in fact, the first step in obtaining extra funding, and this is why it is often dubbed the foundation of federal student financial aid. How is this so, you might ask?
Let’s explain. For a student to receive other grants, they first need to be eligible for and be awarded, a Pell Grant. The federal government shoulders the entire cost of the financial aid so that means schools will always be able to extend financial assistance to all eligible students.
Students given the Pell Grant also need not worry about this aid affecting other grants they may be entitled to. But it does have an impact on the enrollment status of the student. If the student is not enrolled for the whole academic year, he or she will not be given the same funding as someone who is enrolled for the full year. The same goes for students who are enrolled in college part-time.
When this grant has been awarded, the student can still seek further financial assistance if they can demonstrate a strong financial need. They can apply for the FSEOG which are granted by the school. Schools are given funds every year, and they need to use the whole amount. Otherwise, they could face a reduction of the FSEOG funds or worse, elimination in the following year.
Students should first qualify for a Pell Grant before they can apply for the FSEOG. They cannot get any FSEOG funds unless they are given the Pell Grant.
The differences between the two types of funding may seem very basic however the amounts given to a student can vary widely depending on their financial situation. The student and their family should do their best to get the Pell Grant amount finalized so they can determine if pursuing an FSEOG application is necessary. This is critical because as mentioned above, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant funds are given on a first come, first served basis.