Little Known FSEOG Aid Facts

July 18, 2012

FSEOG, also known as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, is a Title IV program under the U.S. Department of Education. The grant provides thousands in federal aid for those students with the lowest income. The money never has to be repaid and is considered to be "free federal money" for college. Just like you apply for Pell Grant, you can also apply for the FSEOG through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. However, the funding is limited and only those who get their applications at the beginning of January are eligible to receive the award. Here are some other little known facts about this essential financial aid program.

Who's Eligible

This aid is demonstrated to students who demonstrate a high financial need. If you qualify for a Pell Grant, you may also qualify for the FSEOG program, but your income has to be incredibly low with no assets. Financial aid administrators will take into account all of the tax information that you supply on FAFSA, determining an expected family contribution number. This is a number that determines much of your financial need and whether or not you can receive FSEOG funds. However, you will not be eligible to receive this aid if you are pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree, second bachelor's degree, graduate degree or professional degree.

Early Birds Get the Worm

In this case, it is essential that you apply with FAFSA as early as possible. This is because FSEOG funding is incredibly limited. Only those who demonstrate highest financial need and apply in early January to February will receive this aid. In some rare cases, you may be considered but this is unlikely. That's because thousands of students apply on January 1st, the opening day of the new FAFSA school year application. There is another priority order to how students are selected. If you have a great financial need and already qualify for a Pell Grant, you'll be considered before others. If you are not receiving a Pell Grant, but you still have a low EFC, you may also receive FSEOG funds. In addition, if your Pell Grant is cancelled because of academic issues or other financial aid liability, you will lose FSEOG as well.

Free Money for School

FSEOG's minimum amount is $100, but the maximum is $4,000. The maximum you can receive with Pell Grant is $5,500. That's a total of near $10,000 for college. If you enroll in a study abroad program, you get an additional $400 maximum in some cases. It's important that you must be a full-time student, demonstrate high financial need, and apply early to be eligible for the maximum amount.

When Aid is Paid

FSEOG funds are paid to your school at the beginning of the school year. Usually you will not receive these funds until the end of a Drop/Add period or after the first week of school. In some cases, if your school does not have traditional semesters, your school must give you specific dates when the aid will be distributed. You can receive this aid by mail or direct deposit from schools that have this technology. You should inquire with your school about specific dates for this school year and how you can get your aid sooner.

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