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Grants Overview

Grants are gift aid that you may receive from the federal or state governments. This is a great type of financial assistance. Unlike student loans, grants are not typically something that must be repaid. It is simply money that financially needy students may qualify for to pay educational expenses.

The federal government has two primary grants: Pell and SEOG.

The state of Oklahoma also has one main grant: Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG).

Pell Grant

Pell Grants are the primary student aid grant program funded by the federal government. More than $7,000,000 in Pell Grant money is paid annually to SWOSU students. Awards vary up to $6,195 per year.

Pell Grants are the first type of aid we consider for awarding for each student.

How much you may actually receive will depend not only on the maximum as set by Congress each year and your computed Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined from the FAFSA, but also on whether you are a full- or part-time student. Students who enroll in less than full-time hours may receive a prorated Pell Grant award, or in some circumstances may lose Pell eligibility entirely. If enrolling in less than full-time hours, you should speak with a Student Financial Services counselor about your eligibility.

Pell Grants are only awarded and payable to undergraduate students who have not already earned a bachelor's or professional degree. A professional degree would include a degree in a field such as pharmacy. Once a student earns a bachelor's degree, they are immediately ineligible for further Pell Grant payments, even if such payments were originally scheduled. Also note, you may not receive Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-74) reduced the duration of a student's eligibility to receive a Federal Pell Grant from 18 semesters (or its equivalent), to 12 semesters (or its equivalent). This change was effective with the 2012-2013 Award Year and applies to all Federal Pell Grant eligible students.

Beginning with the 17-18 award year students may be eligible for 1.5 times their annual scheduled Pell award in an award year. Students who receive the full scheduled award in fall and spring may be eligible to receive up to half of the yearly award for summer school. Students receiving funds from the additional 50 percent of the award must be enrolled halftime or six hours in that term and meet the other eligibility criteria.

The Pell Grant award you qualify for will be shown on your Award Letter. If eligible, your Pell Grant award will be automatically credited to your student account at the beginning of each semester for which you have been awarded Pell Grant funds.

Summer Pell Grant

Pell is only available for summer if you did not receive your full year's eligibility during fall and spring. Usually only students who attended less than full-time during the academic year have Pell Grant funds remaining for summer.

Since the semester is shortened, the maximum amount of aid available is usually reduced as well. Maximum Pell Grants, for those who have funds remaining, are typically half the value of the maximums for the other two semesters for example.

Students must be enrolled in at least half time to receive loans or additional Pell Grant funds during the summer.

SEOG (Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant)

SEOG is available to undergraduates with exceptional financial need - those who have the lowest Expected Family Contributions. This fund is awarded to undergraduate students, enrolled in a first bachelor’s degree program who are eligible for a Pell Grant. SEOG is also awarded based on the availability of funds. SWOSU receives a specific amount of SEOG funds for the year. Priority for these limited funds is given to students who complete the application process, including providing requested documentation to the Office Student Financial Services, earliest, and who are eligible to receive a federal Pell Grant. These funds are available to students who enroll for fall, spring and summer.

The SEOG award will be shown on your award letter and will usually range from $300 to $600 per year. If eligible, and you are enrolled at least half-time, your SEOG award will automatically be credited to your student account at the beginning of each semester for which you have been awarded SEOG funds.

This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by SWOSU to provide assistance to students with exceptional financial need. All students who qualify are automatically considered for this grant.

Summer SEOG Grants

In some years we have been able to pay students who qualified for a maximum Pell Grant during the academic year an SEOG Grant during the summer term. Availability of this funding is determined annually near the end of the spring semester. If you qualify and money is available, it will be shown on your summer award letter.

OTAG (Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant)

OTAG is a need-based grant program for Oklahoma residents who attend approved colleges, universities and career-technical schools in Oklahoma. This program is administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and is approved for full-time and part-time students in undergraduate study. The OTAG program is designed to assist students with financial need in meeting part of the cost of attending college.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University students represent one of the largest pools of recipients of this award in the state. Most students who qualify receive awards valued at $1,000 for the academic year.

To be considered for OTAG, you should complete the FAFSA as soon after October 1 as possible; there are typically more applicants than available funds so early application is a critical factor.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will determine your eligibility based on the information on your FAFSA application. Eligible applications are awarded in descending order of highest need until all funds are committed. If other funding is given to you, which increases your total aid to be higher than your Cost of Attendance (COA), OTAG funds will be reduced to help eliminate the over award. If an over award is determined after you receive OTAG funding, the over awarded amount will have to be repaid back to the program. Payment is made through the SWOSU Bursar's Office in the Administration Building at the cashier's windows.