The economy would have recovered enough to absorb them; second, many more high school graduates felt the need to enter college; third, the reduced funding for education by the government, coupled with rising debt for college education, painted a troubling picture of lifelong debt for many thousands of this country’s educated youth. The post-recession recovery was affected by the political pressure which led to the cutting of the Federal budget for education; this has meant a severe strain on the ability of grant applicants to secure federal grants. Successful applicants are the ones who work with the right kind of information – who do their homework and determine what kind of assistance they need, how to apply for it, where to apply for it, and how best to phrase their request for funding, so that they can improve their chances of securing a federal grant.
There are still many sources for funding for education, and the Federal Government is one of the largest distributors of such grants. The Department of Education (DoE) handles the allocation of such grants, and classifies such grants into three categories: 1. Discretionary Grants: These are grants that are awarded by the DoE using some kind of competitive process. The grants are available to individuals, institutions of higher education, local education agencies, nonprofits, state education agencies, and other education related agencies. The kinds of grants are as wide as the potential recipients – from small, individual study for short research trips outside the country to the Race to the Top Fund, which measures and rewards student progress by institution. 2. Student Loans or Grants These are loans provided by the Federal government to finance higher education for Americans. There are two possible perspectives under which such a grant is given – need and merit. Such funds are either routed through the educational institution or received directly by the student beneficiary. Need-based grants are given to students who can show the greatest levels of financial hardship in paying for college and merit based grants are provided on the basis of academic performance and/or other personal achievements.
3. Formula Grants Formula grants, as the name suggests, are grants that are accorded on the basis of a formula provided to the DoE by Congress; as such, they are given to all those grant seekers that meet the requirements laid out by Congress for the DoE. These include, but are not limited to providing funding for Master’s Degree Programs at historically black colleges and universities (called the HCBU Masters program), providing funding for schools and districts that run reading instruction programs in classrooms, amongst others. Regardless of whether you are an individual looking to attend college or an institution searching for funding to benefit people in need of education, the Federal Government continues to be our nation’s best bet for educational funding.