Connecticut Student Grants for College
Fund Your Education with Free Grant Money
With college tuition averaging about $10,000 per year for undergraduate studies at a state university, finding the funds to pay for an education can present a challenge. One source of possible funding is through grants. Unlike student loans, grants require no repayment.
Educational grants are often based on financial need, but in most cases, grade point averages and extracurricular activities are not factors. Applicants are not required to submit essays or references, such as is normally required for scholarships. Typically, if a student meets the financial requirements and funds are available, he or she will be approved for the grant.
Applying for GrantsUnless otherwise stated, the grants listed require students to complete a Free Application for Student Aid, or FAFSA. Enrolled students may complete the FAFSA application at their university's financial aid office. The application can also be completed at www.fafsa.gov, the official website.
Connecticut State Grants for All Majors
Two of the most popular Connecticut educational grants are the Connecticut Aid for Public College Students for those attending a two or four-year public school and the Connecticut Independent College Student Grant Program for those attending a private school in Connecticut.
The qualifications for these programs include:
- Connecticut residency
- Demonstrable financial need
- United States citizenship
- Enrollment in a Connecticut school on at least half-time basis
- No prior convictions for drug-related offenses
- No federal student loans in default status
- No unpaid reimbursements for federal grants forfeited due to failure to complete or pass classes.
Both programs provide funds to meet any shortfall for tuition. The maximum amount is the actual cost of tuition or no more than $8,332 annually for private universities.
In addition to submitting a FAFSA, applicants should notify their university's financial aid office to ensure that the state grants are requested. The Connecticut Tuition Set-Aside Aid Program is based on financial need and is limited to students attending Connecticut public universities and colleges. Applications should be made through the financial aid office at the student's college or university. Each institution has a different deadline for applications, and grants vary according to need and the funding made available to the specific institution.
Connecticut Grants for Teaching Majors
The Connecticut Minority Teacher Incentive Grant is open to students who are currently enrolled in a public university or college in a teacher preparation program. Grants are for the junior or senior years, providing a maximum of $5,000 annually. Students agree to teach in a public school system in Connecticut for up to four years, with each year of teaching representing $2,500 in grant money.
Students are nominated by a dean of education at their current schools, and nominations must be received no later than October 1. Another grant for teaching students, the Connecticut Special Education Teacher Incentive Grant, also requires nomination by a dean of education before October 1 of each year. This grant provides between $2,000 and $5,000 per year for special education teaching students in their junior or senior years or who are enrolled in a postgraduate program. Bilingual or minority candidates may receive priority status. Grant recipients agree to teach special education in the Connecticut public school system for a period of time determined by the amount of the grant.
Grants for Military Veterans and Families
In the state of Connecticut, military veterans can receive grants to cover tuition at any accredited public college or university. Applications are made through the Connecticut Department of Higher Education (www.ctdhe.org) and must include official discharge statements and an analysis of financial need. Connecticut offers no grants specifically for families of military personnel. However, each branch of the service except the Marine Corps and Navy provides grants for the spouses and/or children of certain service members.
The General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program provides assistance for the spouses or children of active duty service members or those who died after retirement or as a result of a service-related injury. The grants take into account financial need and the cost of tuition. Grants, which are around $2,000 annually, may be renewed each year if the student submits an application and is making satisfactory academic progress. Applications are available online at the Air Force Aid Society website, www.afas.org, and should be mailed to the address shown on the application, along with all supporting documentation.
The Army offers grants of approximately $350 per semester to the spouses of service members on active duty as well as retirees are eligible, as are the widows or widowers of Army personnel who died after retirement or while on active duty. Spouses must reside and attend school in one of the lower 48 states. Applications are available at www.aerhq.org, the website for Army Emergency Relief, in late December or early January for the next school year.
The Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Program's Supplemental Education Grant provides $250 annually to help any eligible family member pay for educational expenses. If there are two or more students in the same family, each may receive up to the maximum annual grant. Children must be younger than 23, unmarried, and not a member of the Armed Forces. Families of active duty, retired, reserve, and auxiliary personnel are eligible, as well as civilian employees of the Coast Guard and employees of the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance organization. The money cannot be applied to tuition, but other related expense, such as lab fees, supplies, and books, are covered.
Applications are available at the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance website, www.cgma.org. Unlike many other programs, this grant can be used to complete a GED or attend an accredited vocational school. In addition, students must first pay for the expense and then submit an application and copies of receipts to receive reimbursement.
The Marines and Navy no longer offer grants. Instead, spouses can receive loans of up to $3,000 annually in the form of a no-interest loan if they are residing with the service member anywhere besides the 50 United States.
Federal grants are determined by the information provided on the FAFSA report. However, students should confirm with their financial aid office that all grants for which they are eligible have been included. To receive federal student aid, including grants, applicants must meet the eligibility requirements. Students must not have been convicted for a drug-related offense that occurred while they were receiving any form of student financial aid.
Applicants must be a citizen or eligible resident alien. Applicants must provide their Social Security numbers. Male applicants between the ages of 18 and 25 must be registered with the Selective Service Board. Applicants must be accepted or enrolled at an approved institution. Applicants must possess a GED or high school diploma. Applicants must not be in default of a federal loan or owe reimbursement for a federal grant. Applicants must provide proof of financial need.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant can furnish a maximum of $4,000 per year for undergraduates at colleges that participate in the program. Pell Grant recipients are given priority for these grants, which depend on the funds available at each specific school.
The Pell Grant is the most commonly issued federal grant. It provides up to $5,500 annually for undergraduate students who can demonstrate financial need. Pell Grants can be renewed each year as long as the student meets the requirements for eligibility. Normally, Pell Grants are not paid for more than the equivalent of 18 semesters during the student's lifetime.
Teacher Education Grant
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant is for students through the graduate level who plan to teach grades K-12. Recipients agree to teach at a school with a low-income population in a field that is designated as high-need. TEACH grants can provide as much as $4,000 annually.
Two more federal grants, the Academic Competitiveness Grant and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant are scheduled to end in June 2011 unless legislation is passed to extend the programs. Both of these grants require Pell Grant eligibility and maintaining a minimum 3.0 grade point average. Students must major in selected fields, such as engineering, mathematics, science, or certain foreign languages.
The Academic Competitiveness Grant is for freshmen who have graduated since January 2006 or sophomores who graduated after January 2005 and provides a maximum of $750 annually for freshmen and a maximum of $1,3o0 annually for sophomores. The National SMART Grant is for juniors and seniors with at least a 3.0 grade point average. The grant provides up to $4,000 annually. Certain students in a five-year program may be eligible during the fifth year as well.
Other Possible Sources for Grants
Connecticut students who are seeking financial aid for college should consult with their financial aid departments. There are often grants available that are specific to the university. These range from research grants, funded by private corporations, for students pursuing a Ph.D. to small grants provided by local businesses or organizations. Students should also consider organizations to which they can claim affiliation. Some historical societies and veteran's organizations offer grants for descendants of their original members.
Many Native American tribes provide grants for members to attend college, regardless of where the student lives or attends school. In addition to the school's financial aid office, students might consult the Connecticut Department of Higher Education. The department may know of grants that have been recently funded or that have not been highly publicized. Students who wish to pursue careers in fields such as nursing, engineering, accounting, architecture, or automotive design should consult the state chapters of professional organizations for information on possible grants.
This is especially important for women or members of a minority planning to pursue a technical degree. These groups have traditionally comprised a small percentage of the workforce in these fields and grants may have become available specifically for these student types.