There are millions of adults and returning students attending college every year. Many students want to get an advanced degree, but are limited by financial restrictions. Even getting a two-year degree is an expensive process.

In addition to expensive college tuition, students also have to worry about transportation, room and board and school supplies. In some cases, you must spend several hundred dollars buying books or software for a single class.

Federal vs. General Education Grants: Which Is Better?

All of these expenses quickly add up, with the majority of college students only able to attend school thanks to financial assistance.

There are two primary types of education grants available to those in need in the United States: federal and general.

Federal grants receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. General grants receive funding from different sources, such as schools, state programs, nonprofit groups and other third-party sources.

The two types of grants are mostly the same, but federal grants have a few advantages over general grants. Federal grants are applicable at more colleges. Because they are meant to be used nationwide, the eligibility requirements are simpler than general grants.

Federal grants are also available to more students, since their funding comes directly from the government.

It is recommended to apply for federal grants first, then see what general grants are available in your state. With some general grants, you are required to list if you receive any federal financial aid to determine your eligibility. By applying for federal grants first, you do not have to worry about a previous grant suddenly becoming invalid.