The requirements for a FSEOG Grant are similar to other types of financial aid – you must demonstrate financial need based on income, expenses, and the cost of tuition. In addition, a student must have a high school diploma and be working on a Bachelor’s degree. The degree must be attained in a standard four year period.
The easy part about applying for a FSEOG Grant is that it is automatic. By filling out a FAFSA application, you will be in the running for a FSEOG Grant. It is possible to be awarded a Pell Grant and a FSEOG Grant in the same letter. However, just because you are eligible does not mean that you will receive the full amount of the grant. FSEOG Grants are limited to the school’s own funds.
This may affect which school you choose to attend. Larger schools may have a larger bank account in which to dole out FSEOG awards. It’s a good idea to check with each school to see the percentage of FSEOG Grants awarded. This may ultimately affect where you choose to attend.
FSEOG Grants are generally less than Pell Grants because schools need to foot the bill. In addition, a Pell Grant will be factored into the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). If you are receiving the maximum Pell Grant for the year–$4,050–then this will affect the EFC. However, if the family demonstrates extreme financial need, it is possible to receive the maximum for both the Pell and the FSEOG.
Beating the System
There are some ways in which families of students try to beat the FAFSA student. The amount of a FSEOG is determined by the EFC. As such, people try to report the lowest EFC possible. These methods aren’t condoned, but they are known to happen. For example, stocks and bonds might be put in a grandparent’s name, or someone else in the extended family. If not, these assets will count towards the family’s net worth and affect the level of the EFC.
It is recommended that you make major purchases before filling out the FAFSA. This will affect the amount of free cash in your bank account. While a purchase will add to your overall net worth, this does not have the same value as liquid cash, as assets, such as a car, go down in value, while cash does not. Finally, if the family has more than one person in college, this will make for a lower EFC, which can then raise the amount of the FSEOG.