Social Security is an extensive system that provides Americans with monetary assistance through programs and benefits. The initiative was originally intended for the aged and poor people. Through the years, though, its scope became wider such that it also covers people with disabilities, those with no source of income, single parents, and the retirees.
Students are also among the group of people who can receive financial assistance from the US government, local governments, and foreign governments. This assistance is much needed, considering that the cost of a college education in the US is jaw-dropping.
- Community College – ($16,000+) – Annually
- In-state students at a 4-year public college – ($23,000+) – Annually
- Out-state students at a 4-year public college – ($37,000+) – Annually
- Private non-profit 4-year college – ($46,272) – Annually
Take into consideration that the cost for master’s and doctorate degrees are excluded from these prices. Also take into consideration that the minimum wage in the US is $7.25 per hour. If an employee works for 8 to 10 hours a day for 20 days every month, then he or she earns a total of $1,450 per month or $17,400 per year. Moreover, a student still needs to pay for other fees, such as food, rent, electricity, and others. In this regard, social security helps families send their children to college by helping to alleviate the financial burden.
According to an Edward Jones survey in 2015, 83% of Americans aren’t able to afford college. This percentage continues to rise, which is quite alarming. As such, the US government and private sectors are encouraged to improve their grant and scholarship programs in order to help more students with their education.
Social Security provides students with assistance in the forms of either the social security grants or the social security scholarships. Below are some of them:
- Pell Grant – The Federal Government provides subsidies for students with either a high-school diploma or GED and who aren’t financially stable. To qualify, the student must be consistent in his or her academic performance. With a maximum of $5,815, the amount of the grant provided depends on the student and the cost of his or her study needs.
- Byrd Scholars – This is a merit-based program for exceptional students where they are entitled to receive $6,000 to cover their school expenses. However, they need to be eligible for enrollment at IHEs (Institutions of Higher Education).
- LEAP (Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership) – They provide grants to states for the purpose of assisting postsecondary students. They are intended to promote better learning and to cover school expenses. The state is responsible for distributing the funds to the students, and it is also tasked with keeping track of their academic progress.
- SLEAP (Special Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership) – This is the second step to LEAP. The students who were recipients of the LEAP grant are entitled to receive further monetary assistance from SLEAP, which focuses on helping the less-privileged students get into the Institutions of Higher Education or IHEs. The students are, of course, required to show great improvement in their studies.
- TRIO SSS (Student Support Services) – This is a federally funded grant by the United States Department of Education, which is intended to help students complete their studies. Students who are eligible for this program should fall under any of the following three categories:
- The student has a documented disability
- The student is financially unstable (based on federal guidelines)
- The student is a first generation college student, which mean that neither his or her parents nor guardians were able to study or complete their degrees
Students in this program receive financial aid scholarships. In this way, TRIO SSS offers both a grant and a scholarship. Students are also given leadership training, educational seminars, and career guidelines by professionals. In addition, students under this program are driven to excel in their academic journey, particularly when they enroll in different universities or colleges within the United States.
- Academic Achievement Incentive Scholarships – After graduating from secondary school, students with high levels of achievement are qualified to reap the benefits of this program. In particular, it provides assistance to those who are included in the top 10 percent of their class or those who are qualified for Federal Pell Grants. This scholarship program covers the costs for the students’ first two academic years at any Institution of Higher Education. In return, they are required to maintain high scores in their chosen field of study.
These social security grants and social security scholarships are offered in order to help less-privileged students gain access to higher learning. They aren’t only about monetary services, but they also serve to boost the momentum of students who want to learn. They enable the students to excel in and out of the classroom, up until the development of their individual careers.
A country with a strong education program for millions of students is a progressive country. So students should take advantage of the many social security grants and social security scholarships offered by the Social Security Administration of the United States and ensure that they have a bright future ahead of them.