Housing is one of the biggest expenses for college students, especially for those who attend school out of state or away from home.
The cost of housing, utilities, and other living expenses can add up quickly, making it difficult for students to make ends meet while they’re working towards their degree.
Thankfully, there are government grants and private organizations that offer financial assistance to help students pay for their housing while they are in college.
These grants can help reduce the financial burden of attending college and allow students to focus on their studies without worrying about how they’re going to pay for their living expenses.
Free Housing Grants for College Students
The Federal Pell Grant is a government-funded grant that provides financial assistance to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need.
The grant amount is determined based on the student’s expected family contribution (EFC) and the cost of schooling. The amount of the grant can vary each year, but the maximum award amount for the 2022-2023 academic year is $6,620.
The student’s eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant will be determined by the U.S. Department of Education based on information provided on the FAFSA.
If the student is eligible, the grant will be credited to the student’s account at the institution. It can be used to cover the cost of tuition, fees, and other education-related expenses. To be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, the student must meet the following criteria:
- Must be an undergraduate student, enrolled in a degree or certificate program at an eligible institution.
- Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizens, such as a permanent resident or certain refugees.
- Must have a valid Social Security number.
- Must demonstrate financial need, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Must not be incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution.
- Must not be in default on a federal student loan.
- Must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as defined by the institution.
How to Apply
To apply for a Federal Pell Grant, the student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online.
The FAFSA must be submitted by the federal deadline, which is usually in late June, in order to be considered for the full amount of the grant. The FAFSA should be submitted as early as possible since funding is limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is a federal grant program that provides need-based financial aid to low-income undergraduate students to help pay for college. It is one of the federal government’s earliest forms of student financial aid, having been established in 1972.
The SEOG program is administered by the Office of Federal Student Aid, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Education.
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Be an undergraduate student who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a participating school
- Demonstrate exceptional financial need by being able to demonstrate that the expected family contribution (EFC) is low
- Be registered with Selective Service (if you are a male)
- Not be in default on a federal student loan
- Not owe a refund on a federal student grant
How to Apply:
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the form that determines your eligibility for federal student aid, including the SEOG grant.
- Submit the FAFSA: You can submit the FAFSA online at the Federal Student Aid website.
- Wait for a decision: After submitting the FAFSA, the Office of Federal Student Aid will process your application and notify you if you are eligible for the SEOG grant.
- Accept the grant: If you are awarded the SEOG grant, you will receive a letter from the Office of Federal Student Aid with instructions on how to accept the grant.
Federal Work-Study Program
The Federal Work-Study Program provides part-time employment opportunities to students who demonstrate financial need.
This program can help students pay for their housing, as well as other expenses, while they are in college. The program is available to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at least half-time in a participating school.
- Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for the Federal Work-Study Program grant.
- Financial need is a key factor in determining eligibility. The program is designed to help low-income students who would otherwise be unable to afford college.
- Participating schools set their own eligibility requirements, and some may require additional information or paperwork.
- Some schools may also prioritize work-study awards to certain majors or departments.
How to Apply:
- To apply for the Federal Work-Study Program, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it to the U.S. Department of Education.
- The FAFSA will determine the student’s eligibility
- If a student is deemed eligible, their school’s financial aid office will contact them to discuss their award and provide information on available job opportunities.
- Students may also be required to attend a job fair or interview process to secure a position.
- College Housing Assistance Grant Program (CHAP)
This program provides grant funding to eligible college students who are facing housing insecurity or homelessness. The College Housing Assistance Grant Program (CHAP) is a program that assists eligible college students who are facing difficulty paying for their housing.
The eligibility requirements and application process for CHAP vary depending on the state and the organization administering the program.
- Must be a full-time student enrolled in an accredited college or university.
- Demonstrate financial need.
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Must meet income requirements based on household size and state of residency.
How to Apply:
- Research and find the CHAP program available in your state.
- Review the eligibility requirements and application process for the program.
- Submit the required documentation, including proof of enrollment, financial need, and citizenship status.
- Provide information about your household size and income.
- Submit the completed application to the CHAP program administrator.
5. United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Emergency Student Fund
This fund provides financial assistance to students who are facing unexpected emergencies, including housing issues. The eligibility criteria and the application process for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Emergency Student Fund are as follows:
- Students who are enrolled full-time at a UNCF-member college or university
- Students who are in good academic standing and making progress toward a degree
- Students who are experiencing an unexpected financial hardship or emergency
- Students who have exhausted all other available resources.
How to Apply:
- Visit the UNCF website and find the “Student Aid” section
- Click on the “Emergency Student Fund” link
- Read the information and eligibility criteria to confirm that you meet the requirements
- Complete the online application and provide the required information and supporting documents, such as proof of enrollment, academic transcripts, and documentation of the financial hardship
- Submit the completed application and wait for a decision from the UNCF.
6. The Dream.US Scholarship
The Dream.US scholarship is a national scholarship program designed to provide financial assistance to low-income, undocumented students who are eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and who want to earn a college degree.
This scholarship provides financial assistance to low-income, undocumented students who are attending college. It can be used to cover housing expenses.
- Applicants must be eligible for DACA or TPS status.
- Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.
- Applicants must be accepted into one of The Dream.US partner colleges.
- Applicants must be able to demonstrate financial need.
- Applicants must be willing to complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service per year.
How to Apply:
Step 1: Check the eligibility criteria and ensure that you meet the requirements.
Step 2: Check the list of The Dream.US partner colleges and ensure that you have been accepted into one of the partner colleges.
Step 3: Complete the online scholarship application, including all required personal and financial information.
Step 4: Provide all required supporting documentation, such as transcripts, financial aid forms, and proof of DACA or TPS status.
Step 5: Submit the completed application and all required supporting documentation by the deadline.
Step 6: Wait for the scholarship selection committee to review your application and make a decision.
7. American Indian College Fund
The American Indian College Fund provides scholarships and support to American Indian and Alaska Native students who are attending tribal colleges and universities or other accredited colleges and universities. This can include housing assistance.
- Must be an enrolled member of a federal or state-recognized American Indian tribe or Alaska Native village.
- Must be pursuing a degree at a tribal college or university or other accredited college or university.
- Must demonstrate financial need.
- Must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.
How to Apply:
- Submit the online scholarship application, which includes a personal essay and proof of enrollment in a federal or state-recognized tribe.
- Provide proof of enrollment and financial need.
- Submit transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.
The scholarship application deadline is typically in the spring, and award amounts vary based on funding and the number of applicants.
It is recommended to regularly check the American Indian College Fund website for updates on the application deadline and required documentation.
These are just a few of the many housing grants available to college students. To find out more about these and other programs, you can reach out to financial aid offices at the colleges you are interested in attending, as well as organizations that specialize in helping low-income students pay for college.