Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The SEOG grant, also known as the (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant), helps relieve the financial burden of post-secondary education for those who qualify.

The Federal SEOG is a form of gift aid that schools award to students who are in exceptional financial need. As such, the funds do not need to be repaid.

Students may use their award to pay for tuition, books, and room and board at approved schools. The amount awarded varies based on the applicant’s financial status. To apply, they must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA collects information that allows the school to determine if the applicant qualifies for the program. Keep reading for full details on this federal opportunity grant and what you need to be eligible for this valuable source of funding.

What is the SEOG Grant?

The SEOG grant is a form of gift aid awarded to those students deemed to be in exceptional financial need. Federal SEOG grant guidelines require priority to be given to those students with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero. As a gift. The grant does not need to be repaid. However, there may be instances where the student must repay the grant. Once approved, the school either applies the funds to the students account or sends the payment directly to the student. Per program guidelines. Funds must be disbursed at least once per turn. Schools that do not operate on semesters must disperse the funds at least twice every academic year. Students may use the grant on their educational expenses which include:

  • Tuition
  • Books and supplies
  • Room and board
  • Other educational expenses as necessary

Related Article: Federal Pell Grant

Federal SEOG grants are awarded directly from each participating institution. Not all schools participate in the program. Given that students must verify if their school participates in the FSEOG grant program.

What requirements must I meet before I qualify for an SEOG grant?

A student applying for an FSEOG grant, must meet the basic requirements for federal financial aid. Students seeking federal SEOG funding must satisfy each requirement before they can receive any form of federal assistance. To satisfy general eligibility requirements, students must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Be registered with Selective Service if male.
  • Demonstrate creditworthiness.
  • Not be in default on any federal student aid or grant.

Applicants for a grant must hold a high-school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Students must be enrolled as a regular degree-seeking student. They must be enrolled at least half time to qualify for an SEOG grant.

How to Qualify for Federal SEOG Funds

As the FSEOG grant is a needs-based award, students must demonstrate an extreme financial need. As such, the federal opportunity grant program uses the applicant’s family income to determine if and how much to award the student. Specifically, the school uses the following calculation to arrive at a number known as the student’s Financial Need:

Cost of Attendance (COA) minus Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need

The COA represents the total amount required to attend the school. The COA amount refers to the sum of the tuition, books, room and board and all the fees needed to attend the school. When evaluating an application, the school must also examine a student’s EFC. The EFC is a figure that represents a family’s financial strength. The EFC is not the amount that the family must contribute towards tuition. The number helps the school make decisions on who best meets the financial requirements for an SEOG grant.

Students seeking a Federal SEOG grant must also be enrolled at least half-time at an approved institution. They must not have earned a bachelor’s degree, and they must continue to make satisfactory academic progress.

What happens if I no longer qualify for the Federal SEOG?

Once awarded the SEOG grant, students must continue to meet the basic eligibility guidelines outlined above. They must also meet eligibility guidelines for academic progress to remain eligible for the FSEOG grant. The rules for academic progress vary per school and are based on a variety of factors including:

  • Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Progress towards graduation
  • Attendance status

If a student does not maintain eligibility, the student may be required to repay the grant. However, a grant holder may regain their eligibility under certain circumstances. The below outlines how a grant holder may regain eligibility for their award:

Citizenship Status

If a student’s citizenship status has expired, they must reinstate their citizenship to become eligible again. They may also qualify by gaining permanent residency status before they regain their eligibility for a Federal SEOG grant.

Academic Progress

For those who lose eligibility due to failure to meet academic progress, the school may have an appeal process. Following the appeals process may help reinstate eligibility.

Default on Student Loans

Anyone who has defaulted on a student loan must bring their loan status to current before they can receive SEOG grant funds. They may utilize one of the many loan rehabilitation or loan consolidation programs to help bring their loans out of default.

How does the SEOG Grant differ from other grant programs?

Outside of the SEOG grant, the federal government offers a variety of awards that may be of benefit to students. However, the SEOG grant has some key differences that make it an ideal scenario for those who meet the requirements.

The FSEOG opportunity grant is strictly a needs-based program. Unlike other programs, grant recipients are not required to meet obligations such as teaching or working in a specific area. Also, students are not awarded based on their Grade Point Average (GPA). However, they may be required to maintain academic progress to keep their award.

The U.S. Department of Education provides each participating school a certain amount of funds to be used to award grants. The school then awards grants to those who qualify. Once the school issues all funds for the year, no further grants are awarded. As such, students must apply early to increase their chances of obtaining SEOG grant funding.

What is the SEOG Grant amount?

Each school awards the FSEOG opportunity grant based on an individual’s financial need. Depending on their situation, students may receive an FSEOG grant award between $100 and $4,000 per year. If the student’s financial situation changes, the amount of their award may change. As such, it is crucial to report income changes to their school to ensure they continue to continue to meet eligibility requirements. A change in the grant holder’s financial status could qualify them for a higher award amount.

How to Submit an FSEOG Application

Students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for a Federal SEOG award. The FAFSA collects information needed for each school determine an applicant’s eligibility for the FSEOG grant. When applying, those requesting a grant must provide the following:

  • Full name
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth
  • Citizenship status
  • Income

The applicant must also provide information about their parent’s income  on the FAFSA to help determine their eligibility for an SEOG grant.

Related Article: FAFSA Application Process

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