There are four major federal grant programs available for undergraduates:
Federal Pell Grants
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
Teach Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
All programs require students to complete the FAFSA. The Pell and FSEOG grants are need-based programs. The maximum amount you can receive for a Pell Grant can change yearly. For 2013-14, the maximum award is $5,645. Students can only receive Pell Grants for 12 semesters.
The FSEOG program is a campus-based aid program. The financial aid office receives a certain amount of FSEOG funds each year and then distributes the money to its students based on financial need. The school sets the deadlines and the award can vary from $100 to $4,000. Not all students who may qualify for the FSEOG will receive them. It all depends on how much money the school has for distribution. Therefore, you should apply as early as possible for financial aid.
The TEACH grants is also a campus-based program in that you must be enrolled in a eligible program to qualify for the grant. Not all schools participate and some programs that qualify at one school may not qualify at another. TEACH grants are not need-based program. Anyone who meets the qualifications can participate in the program.
Students can receive awards of up to $4,000 per year. Within eight years after graduating, students are obligated to teach four years in designated low-income schools as a highly qualified teachers. Students who do not meet their obligations have their grants converted to unsubsidized student loans.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are not need-eligible program. Qualified students under the age of 24 whose parent died in military service in Iraq or Afghanistan are eligible to the maximum Pell Grant award.