Q. How do I apply for a college grant?
— Future student

A. To start off, a grant is considered monetary aid that does not have to be paid back.

Grants are is based off of the financial need of an individual and their capacity to afford higher education, said Steven Sirot, co-founder of College Benefits Research Group (CBRG) in Roseland.

“There are several types of grants that are sponsored by the federal government, state government, the school in which you are applying and/or private or nonprofit organizations,” Sirot said.

The first step to receiving possible financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal and Student Aid (FAFSA), said David Slater, also a co-founder of CBRG.

“Once that is completed, you will begin to receive insight on possible grants, as well as additional financial assistance that may be offered based on your financial status,” Slater said.

Your college may offer other grants specific to that school, so be sure to talk to the financial aid office about the offerings.

Then check out FastWeb.com, a scholarship search engine, to see what else you may qualify for.

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for The Star-Ledger and she’s the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Click here to sign up for the NJMoneyHelp.com weekly e-newsletter. Like NJMoneyHelp.com on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.