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How the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Works

With college costs on the rise, more families are seeking financial assistance in all different forms. While merit scholarships, loans, and work study can all help, grants are often a family’s preferred form of aid. This is because grants are usually based on a family’s financial need and don’t need to be paid back.


In this post, we’ll outline one popular grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). If your family is seeking financial assistance with college expenses, you won’t want to miss this post. 


What is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant?


The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a federal grant for undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. While the grant is federally funded, it is administered by the financial aid office at participating schools and schools contribute their own funds towards 25% of the award totals. Not all schools participate, so you’ll need to check the specifics at the school you’re attending. 


How to Apply for a FSEOG


To apply for the FSEOG, you must first confirm your eligibility. You must be a full-time undergraduate student who is a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. You must also demonstrate significant financial need through completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Award amounts vary according to how much financial need a family demonstrates, and how many students apply. 


The eligibility requirements for the FSEOG are the same as for other forms of federal aid. You can view them on the Basic Eligibility Criteria page of the Federal Student Aid site. One fundamental rule is that students must qualify for a Pell Grant to qualify for a FSEOG.


You should plan on filling out the FAFSA as early as possible, because once all funds are distributed, no more awards will be given out. This means that even if you demonstrate significant financial aid, you may not receive an award if you apply too late. The FAFSA is available on October 1st each year for the following school year.


How are FSEOG Payments Distributed?


FSEOG payments are administered by the financial aid office at each participating school. You will receive notice of your award by email or snail mail. If you receive an award, the funds will be distributed either by check or grant directly credited to the school.

How Much is the Average FSEOG Award?


The range of FSEOG awards is between $100 and $4,000 per year, but very few students receive the highest amounts. At most colleges, the average award is under $1,500. When we analyzed a representative sample of 430 colleges, we found that the majority of schools fall within the $450-2,000 range, with the average between $730-1,000. While the advertised award up to $4,000 is still possible at some schools, you’re more likely to be awarded just under $1,000, depending on your family’s level of financial need. 


How to Maintain Eligibility


You can receive an FSEOG award each year that you are a full-time undergraduate student who has not completed a bachelor’s degree. Your eligibility is determined each year by filling out the FAFSA. As mentioned above, you’ll want to fill this out as early as possible to maximize your potential awards, and avoid missing out because of submitting your FAFSA too late.


You will also need to continue to make satisfactory academic progress. This means achieving good enough grades and completing enough credits to stay on target for completing your degree. These standards vary from school to school, but school generally will have a satisfactory academic progress policy for financial aid purposes. Contributing factors can include minimum GPA, how many credits you should have successfully completed by the end of each year, and how often your school will evaluate your progress. 


Where Else to Look for Financial Assistance


Federal grants are only one of many ways to help a family pay for college. There are also state and institution administered financial aid programs and private scholarships available. For more help navigating the process, don’t miss these CollegeVine resources:



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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.