College grants are financial aid that doesn’t have to be paid back. Learn more about federal and state grants, how to apply for grants for college, what grants can pay for, and more. Unlike student loans, college grants do not require repayment. College grants are just like scholarships with 1 exception: scholarships may be need-based or merit based, whereas most grants are typically need-based. Students must fill out a FASFA to check their eligibility for federal grant programs.