How to Get Grants to Live On While Attending School

You are still going to have bills to pay while you attend college. Your car insurance and electricity bills will continue to come in the mail every month. If you cannot work enough to pay for your bills while you attend school, you may be able to finance your living expenses through grants. It will likely require a lot of research and submission of applications, but the work will be worth it if you can get grants to cover your bills while you go to school.

Make a list of the grants for which you are eligible. Begin researching grants about a year to a year and a half before you intend to enroll in college. Look for grants that pay for room and board and living expenses. These are the grants that you can use to help pay for your bills while you attend college. Ones that can only be used toward paying tuition and fees will not pay for your rent or utility bills.

Include in your research state grants, federal grants, professional association grants, grants from the college you intend to attend and grants from corporations and other organizations. Write down the application deadlines for each grant.

Download and print or request copies of the applications for each grant you intend to apply for. You may be able to apply for some grants online, such as the Pell Grant, which is provided by the federal government. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) allows you to apply for several federal grants, and colleges often require it to be submitted with their financial aid applications. Turn in each grant application before its deadline.

Apply the funds you receive from the grants toward your tuition, books and fees first. If you receive a refund of leftover amounts of the grant, you can use it to help pay for your other living expenses. Avoid spending it on other expenses that are not related to your living expenses; you may be required to pay back the money if you are found to have misused the grant funding.


  • Some grants that allow you to use their funds for expenses like housing include the National Oratorical Contest Scholarship from the American Legion, the Room and Board Scholarship from Jacksonville University in Florida and the ROTC Room and Board Scholarship from Texas A&M University Kingsville.