National High School Coaches Association


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What is a Grant?

A grant is like a scholarship and does not need to be paid back. A federal grant is an award of financial assistance from a federal agency to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States. Federal Grants are not federal assistance or loans to individuals.


Types of Grants:

Federal  State  |  Local  |  Merit Selective Service



The FAFSA is the federal application for financial aid, but it is also used to apply for aid from other sources, such as your state or school.

Schools and states often use the FAFSA information to also award nonfederal aid. Their deadlines are usually early in the year. You can find state deadlines at FAFSA on the Web or on the paper FAFSA. Check with the schools you're interested in for their deadlines.

Selective Service

A young man who lives in the United States between his 18th and 26th birthdays must be registered with the Selective Service System to receive a federal student loan. Virtually all young men living in the United States are required by law to register with the Selective Service when they are 18. To learn more about registration and the other eligibilities tied to it, please visit, www.sss.gov.



Federal Student Financial Aid Deadlines

Pay close attention to deadlines! Ask your school about their definition of an application deadline - whether it is the receipt date and time or the process date and time of the application.

Federal Student Aid considers a FAFSA's receipt date and time to be when the FAFSA/correction is submitted successfully.

TIP: When you submit your FAFSA, be sure to print out the confirmation page and keep it for your records. It contains a confirmation number with the exact date and time (Central Standard Time) the form was received. You can also choose to have a copy e-mailed to you if you have provided an e-mail address.

Note: Transactions must be completed and accepted by midnight to meet the deadline. If you wait too long to submit your application and it is rejected, you may miss your school's deadline.

College Financial Aid Deadlines

Each college may have a different deadline. Check with the college(s) you are interested in attending. You may also want to ask your college about their definition of an application deadline, whether it is the date they receive your FAFSA, or the date your FAFSA is processed.

Click Here to go to the FAFSA homepage. 




The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to apply for most state loan, grant and scholarship programs, in addition to the federal loans and grants. When you submit the FAFSA to the US Department of Education, they forward the information on the form to the state student assistance agency.

Each state has a different FAFSA submission deadline. If you miss the deadline, you will be ineligible to receive state aid for the entire academic year.

Click Here to see each state's deadline for 2012-2013!




Colleges provide institutional grants to help make up the difference between college costs and what a family can be expected to contribute through income, savings, loans, and student earnings.

Other institutional grants, known as merit awards or merit scholarships, are awarded on the basis of academic achievement. Some merit awards are offered only to students whose families demonstrate financial need; others are awarded without regard to a family's finances. Some grants come with special privileges or obligations.

There are also grants that are offered by the parent's employer as well as local organizations that offer small grants. A good example of these would be your local Rotary Club, Lions Club or Masonic Lodge.

1. Parents should check with their employers to identify any possible grants offered by the company.
2. Check with the college admissions office to learn of local grants that they are aware of.
3. Create a checklist to visit local social clubs to identify grants they may offer.
4. Visit the Chamber of Commerce to identify grants offered by local business.




Merit-based Grants are based on several categories. These include Athletics, Academics and Extra-Curricular activities such as music and cheerleading. Most colleges will evaluate the need for a merit grant based financial need.

How Much Can A Student Receive?
A National SMART Grant will provide up to $4,000 for each of the third and fourth years of undergraduate study. The amount of the SMART Grant, when combined with a Pell Grant, may not exceed the student's cost of attendance. In addition, if the number of eligible students is large enough that payment of the full grant amounts would exceed the program appropriation in any fiscal year, then the amount of the grant to each eligible student may be ratably reduced.

Eligible Students 

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Be Pell Grant-eligible during the same award year
  • Be enrolled at least half-time
  • Be in the third or fourth year of an undergraduate degree program (or fifth year of a five-year program)
  • Be pursuing a major in physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, engineering or a critical foreign language; or non-major single liberal arts programs, and have at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale as of the end of the second award year and continue to maintain a 3.0 GPA that must be checked prior to the beginning of each payment period (e.g., semester).

 Note - A student is eligible to receive a National SMART Grant if the student enrolls in the courses necessary to complete the degree program and to fulfill the requirements of the intended eligible major.

That is, an otherwise eligible student can receive a National SMART Grant for a payment period only if the student is enrolled in at least one course that meets the specific requirements of the student's National SMART Grant-eligible major and it is not necessary that the course be offered by the academic department that confers the degree in the eligible major. For example, a student majoring in biology is eligible to receive a National SMART Grant during a semester in which he or she is enrolled in a physics course if the physics course is required for the major even if the student is not enrolled in any biology courses.

A student who is taking general education courses or electives that satisfy general degree requirements for the student's National SMART Grant-eligible program, but who is not taking at least one course specific to and required for the National SMART Grant-eligible major, is not eligible for a National SMART Grant payment for that payment period. For example, the biology student described above may be taking courses during a semester in the humanities, the arts, and physical education in order to fulfill the general education requirements of the degree program or major. However, to be eligible for a National SMART Grant the student must also be enrolled in at least one course required for the student's National SMART Grant major. If the student were enrolled only in courses that satisfy the general education requirements of the National SMART Grant-eligible program, but not in any courses that are specific to the major, he or she would not be eligible for a National SMART Grant payment for the semester.