When you are planning to continue your education, the cost of tuition can sometimes give you sticker shock. However, online grants for college can help offset costs and can be applied toward your tuition, fees, textbooks, and other college-related expenses.
Grants are usually need-based rather than merit-based and do not have to be repaid. However, there are certain circumstances in which you would have to repay a grant. If you have withdrawn from your courses early, reduced your enrollment status, or received outside scholarships or grants that lowered your financial need, you will have to pay back your grant.
College grants can come from many sources, including federal and state governments, non-government institutions, and sometimes your school. Below, learn more about types of grants available.
You can find grants for college through both federal and state governments.
Federal grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Education and are almost always awarded based on financial need. In order to receive a federal grant, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After your school has received the information from your FAFSA, they will determine which grants you are eligible for, along with award amounts.
There are several federal grants available. The award amounts listed are subject to change annually.
Federal Pell Grant
Awarded to undergraduate students who have not previously earned a college degree, Federal Pell Grants are given based on your estimated family contribution (EFC), your cost of attendance, enrollment status, and whether or not you plan to be enrolled for the full academic year. Some online students who are enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program may be eligible for a Pell Grant.
- Award amount: Up to $6,195 per award year
- Deadline: Varies
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Online undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree may be able to receive the FSEOG. Students who receive a Federal Pell Grant have priority for this grant. Funds depend on the availability at your school, and not all schools participate in the program.
- Award amount: Up to $4,000 per year
- Deadline: Varies
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
Students who are enrolled in an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate program to prepare for teaching in an in-demand field — such as mathematics, science, and special education — at an elementary or secondary school can receive a TEACH Grant. To receive this grant, you must agree to teach full time for at least four years at an institution that serves low-income students within eight years of graduating from your program. You must also meet the specified academic achievement requirements.
Note that if you are unable to complete your teaching service commitment, your TEACH Grant will be converted into a Direct Unsubsidized Loan and will need to be repaid.
- Award amount: Up to $3,752 for grants first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2018, and before Oct. 1, 2019
- Deadline: Varies
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
If you had a parent or guardian who served in the U.S. military and died because of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan prior to Sept. 11, 2001, you might be eligible for an Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. Eligibility depends on if you are ineligible for a Federal Pell Grant due to your financial need level. You must also have been younger than 24 years old when enrolled at least part time at the time of your parent or guardian’s passing.
- Award amount: Up to the maximum amount for a Federal Pell Grant for the award year, or $6,095 for the 2018-2019 academic year; if first disbursed between Oct. 1, 2018 and Oct. 1, 2019, the award is up to $5,717.11; for grants first disbursed between Oct. 1, 2017, and Oct. 1, 2018, the award amount is up to $5,692.73
- Deadline: Varies
Some grants are available through your state government. Your school will award any state grants after they have received information from your completed FAFSA. Some states offer both need-based and merit-based grants to online students.
All award amounts listed are subject to change.
Available to online undergraduate college students in the state of California, the Cal Grant is available to those who do not have a bachelor’s or professional degree and are enrolled at least part time. You must have been a California resident for at least one year and attend a California institution. To apply, you must complete the FAFSA.
- Award amounts: For California State University students, $5,742; for University of California students, $12,570; for students of non-WASC for-profit schools, $4,000; for students of WASC for-profit schools, $8,056; for students of private nonprofit schools, $9,084
- Deadline: March 2
Pennsylvania State Grant
Students who attend a school that is approved by the PHEAA may be eligible to receive the Pennsylvania State Grant. To receive the grant, you must be enrolled at least part time, not already have a bachelor’s degree, and have satisfactory academic progress. You must complete the FAFSA and the Pennsylvania State Grant Form to apply for this grant.
- Award amounts: Up to $4,123; varies depending on financial situation and type of school
- Deadline: May 1 or Aug. 1 for first-time applicants; May 1 for renewal applicants; Aug. 15 for summer applicants
Florida Student Assistance Grants (FSAG)
FSAG are available to Florida residents who are enrolled at a Florida school. There are four different grants offered through the program: public, private, postsecondary, and career assistance.
- Florida Public Student Assistance Grant: For students attending state universities and Florida colleges, including public community colleges
- Florida Private Student Assistance Grant: For students attending eligible private, nonprofit, four-year colleges and universities
- Florida Postsecondary Student Assistance Grant: For students attending eligible degree-granting colleges and universities that are not eligible under the Florida Private Student Assistance Grant
- Florida Public Postsecondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant: For students attending eligible and participating Florida colleges, including public community colleges, or career centers that are operated by district school boards
You must not have previously earned a bachelor’s degree. Annual renewal for the grant program requires a minimum 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. To apply for Florida state grants, you must complete the FAFSA by the deadline specified by your school.
- Award amounts: Up to $2,600 per academic year depending on enrollment status
- Deadline: Varies depending on school
Where to Find State Grants
Click on your state below for details on available college grants.
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Additional Sources for Online College Grants
There are private sources for college grants, and many are awarded based on different criteria: ethnicity, cultural affinity, family circumstances, work background, and course of study. In addition, many higher education institutions award grants to students; however, institutional grants are not always available to online students.
When seeking grants for college online, it may help to search for your area of study or other criteria specifically. For example, to find grants available to nursing students, you may search for “nursing college grants.” Or, if you are a single parent, you could search for “college grants for single parents.” The possibilities for outside college grants are endless.
College Grant Search Engines
Making Your Education Feasible
While online degree programs are already affordable, receiving one of the many available grants for college can help reduce the cost of your education even more. College grants make furthering your education even more feasible. If you want to further reduce the cost of your online degree program, you can also receive financial assistance through scholarships and student loans.