A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded usually only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. In some cases, however, a student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Pell Grant. The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2011-12 award year is $5,550. The award a student may receive, however, will depend on financial need, the cost to attend school, student enrollment status (i.e., full time or part time) and if a student plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program is for undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest expected family contributions (EFCs) will be considered first for a FSEOG. Just like Pell Grants, the FSEOG does not have to be repaid. Students can receive between $100 and $4,000 a year, depending on financial need.
Cal Grants are California state-funded grants given to students who meet a certain high school grade point average and income requirements. Cal Grants do not have to be repaid. Applicants must be a graduating, or recently graduated, high school senior from California or have recently obtained their GED. For students that do not have a high school GPA to submit, such as students that were home-schooled or attended a charter school, you may submit ACT or SAT scores. Applicants must complete a FAFSA between January 1 and March 2 to determine eligibility.