The Boston Marathon Bombings gripped our attention in April. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those directly affected by this terrible crime in a great city. We also contemplate lessons to be learned both about terrorism and about depending on help from the government.
Police and government agencies did a great job overall. But it was an alert and independent individual, stepping outside for a cigarette and noticing something amiss, who led police to the suspect. The lesson? We all need government help at some point. And we always need to do our part.
We urge you to take advantage of services and resources available as you strive to better your life and provide for yourself and your family. Our May Free Money Highlights section provides great tips and advice for you to do just that. Check them out for: news about Pell Grants and your eligibility, creative searches for federal grants (even for individuals!), finding reliable information about help to purchase a home, and stories and advice about winning grants.
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What's Ahead For Pell Grants?
Before you panic, know that Pell Grants are safe for the remainder of this year! It's also important to know that there are likely to be changes coming up. The Higher Education Act, which directs federal government aid for education, expires at the end of 2013. Though the wheels of government don't move quickly, proposals for change are being considered.
To date many proposals would mean major changes in other kinds of federal aid to students but have left Pell Grants alone. At most there could be a shorter time period during which students could receive them, and perhaps a requirement for full time attendance or an incentive to take more courses to move more quickly toward a degree.
One very new study could change Pell Grants in a more dramatic way. It was instigated by the College Board and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation to consider more dramatic changes to Pell Grants. We will review the study and its recommendations in more detail in an upcoming article on this website, so stay tuned. In the meantime, act now to take advantage of the Pell Grant as currently designed. Our very brief Pell Grant eligibility quiz will let you know in minutes if you might qualify. Whether you qualify or not, be sure you fill out a FAFSA as your first step in getting financial aid for your education.
Looking for a Federal Grant?
A research grant we recently discovered caught our attention both because it is designed for an individual and because we found it in an unexpected place. The grant is for creative ovarian cancer research and encourages applicants from fields other than medical science and research to apply (though medical types may apply as well). Most interestingly, the grant - for as much as $4.3 million, is being offered by the U.S. Army. You can read more about it in our article on Federal Grants.
So if you are looking for a particular type of grant, don't limit your search to specific agencies or foundations. Keep your search broad and you will find the most possibities. And be sure to use our handy guide to the sometimes confusing Federal Register to get the most out of that excellent resource.
Grants To Purchase A Home
Based on the feedback and questions we receive it seems like more and more people are looking for help to buy a home or at least to find a better place to live. First a warning: the more desperate you are the more vulnerable you may be to those who make false promises in the hope of getting their hands on your money. If you are looking for a new place to live and need help, the fist place to check is our article about grants to purchase a home. While the government does not just hand out “free money” for home purchases, there are sources of help and financial aid available. We provide you with clear, honest facts — and if you want to pose a question to us our our Community, you can use our Community Ask & Answer page.
Getting Grants: Lessons From Experience
Often the best place to get good advice and answers is from those who have gone before you attempting to accomplish the same thing you are trying to do. The same is true with finding, applying for and winning grants. Check out our interview with experienced fundraiser John McGhee for tried and true advice about getting grants.