A grant is different from a loan in a very big reason: repayment. A loan requires you to pay the money back with interest, but a grant works much differently. By its very definition, grants are not repaid. So, obviously you want to receive as much and as many grants as you can. The problem with grants though is that usually they are very specific to which school they can be used at. The most known and used grant is the Pell Grant, which is a federal grant that is managed by Office of Federal Student Aid and overseen by the Department of Education. Since it is a federal grant, keep in mind that the funds used to pay for it comes from taxpayer dollars. The goal of it is to assist students in fulfilling their educational goals by receiving education and obtaining a job afterward. It's as if the American public is helping you to pay for your education, so make sure you make them proud!
Is there ever a time when a Pell Grant has to be repaid? Not directly. If you drop from your classes and you haven't completed enough of the term to earn the whole disbursement, then the school may have to refund part of your Pell Grant. This can cause a balance on your account that must be paid. In these circumstances, you are required to pay the school the difference of your remaining charges and the Pell Grant refund. This is a situation that is very much a case by case basis. Your best option is to not drop from your classes. But if you have to drop from your classes, try to make sure it's after a term is completed. And don't forget: if you have any questions, always be sure to talk to your financial aid office. In cases of drops, the school has 30 days to make the appropriate refunds. You'll get something in the mail, but it might take some time.
Grants are always the best bet for students since they don't have to pay them back. Unfortunately, you have to qualify for grants. Since it is federal dollars paying for your education, the government wants to make sure you jump through a few hoops to make sure you qualify. Currently, the FAFSA is the easiest it's ever been, and they want everyone to complete one, so give it a shot! It's free to complete! To complete one, go to www.fafsa.gov.