Acceptance of accredited online university degree programs is becoming widespread. So much so, in fact, that students who decide to earn their college degree at home can apply for federal grants to help finance their college degree programs. In the past, governmental regulations required that these funds be used only for financing traditional university degree programs. Today, however, eligible students can use these grant monies to help pay for online university degrees.

Each of the five grants offered by the United States government offers educational money to qualified students. The Pell Grant is probably the one with which people are most familiar. This assistance is typically offered only to individuals who do not yet have a bachelor degree.

Students receiving Pell Grants are eligible for no more than $4,731 each year. The amount of each personís award depends on tuition cost, the degree of financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and whether the person is attending college on a full- or part-time basis. On occasion, students seeking certification for teaching after earning a bachelor degree can also receive Pell Grants.

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, or FSEOG, is another grant offered to students who exhibit significant financial need. Individuals who receive an FSEOG have the lowest predicted family contributions toward tuition costs. The amount of money available to these students through this grant ranges from $100 to $4,000.

Prospective teachers may apply for a special federal grant to help cover the cost of their university degree programs. This award, referred to as the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education, or TEACH award, provides assistance to teachers who are willing to work at an elementary or secondary school that provides instruction to children of families with low incomes. These schools may be public or private. The maximum amount of the award is $4,000.

Another federally funded grant is the Academic Competitiveness Grant. Students who are financially eligible for a Pell Grant, and have maintained a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0, are eligible for AC Grants. Students in the first year of a degree program may receive $750. Those in the second year of their university degree program may obtain up to $1,300 in assistance.

One other type of federal tuition assistance is available to qualified candidates. National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grants (National SMART Grants) are offered to students in the final two years of an undergraduate college degree program. Recipients are also eligible for the Pell Grant, and must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. Furthermore, they must be seeking college degrees in life, computer or physical sciences, or in mathematics, engineering, or technology. Alternatively, they may elect to major in a foreign language that is deemed critical to national security. Up to $4,000 may be awarded, but must not exceed the cost of tuition when combined with the Pell Grant.

Different university degree programs offer other scholarships and grants in addition to these funds. To determine the types and amount of tuition assistance available at your university, contact the schoolís financial aid advisor. And remember to always complete a FAFSA!

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