Back to School with Benefits.gov

Summertime is coming to an end and students and families across the nation are getting ready  to head back to school. Preparing for the school year is exciting and filled with great possibility, but may also bring stress and more responsibility. Benefits.gov has resources that you as a student, parent, or teacher can use to have a successful start to the school year.

If you’re a parent preparing to send your child back to school, check out the following programs and resources:

  • For low-income families, the School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs are available to provide nutritionally balanced meals to children as a part of their regular school day. You can learn more about child nutrition programs in your state by visiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Child Nutrition Programs page.
  • For year round resources, the U.S. Department of Education offers a Parent’s Countdown to Success for information on everything from advice on interacting with teachers, to creative ways to get your child excited for school, and health and nutrition tips to keep in mind for your child this school year.

For college level students looking for financial assistance, we have a variety of resources featured on our site:

  • The Federal Pell Grant Program provides grants to low-income undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Federal Pell Grants are direct grants awarded through participating institutions to students with financial need who have not received a bachelor's degree or who are enrolled in qualifying post-baccalaureate programs for teacher certification or licensure.
  • For D.C. residents, The D.C. Adoption Scholarship (DCAS) offers grant awards up to $10,000 per year for up to six years, to children adopted through the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency or children who have lost one or both parents in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application used by virtually all two and four-year colleges, universities, and career schools for awarding Federal, state, and college-funded student aid.
  • Federal Work-Study:  The Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) funds part-time employment for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay postsecondary education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student's course of study. The total award depends on when the student applies, the level of need, and the funding level of the school.

And finally, for teachers of all subjects and tenure, there are a range of available programs that could be helpful:

  • The Teachers for Global Classrooms Program provides an opportunity for middle and high school teachers from the United States to participate in a program aimed at globalizing classrooms through an online professional development course, two Washington, D.C. based symposiums, and a 2-3 week professional development exchange to one of the following countries: Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Morocco or Ukraine.
  • The English Language (EL) Teaching Fellow Program promotes English language learning and enhances English teaching capacity abroad. Through projects sponsored by U.S. embassies, EL Fellows share their professional expertise, strengthen their skills, gain international experience and learn about other cultures.
  • For teachers interested in buying a home, the Good Neighbor Next Door Program may help by offering qualified buyers a 50 percent discount off the list price of homes available from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) revitalization area. Participants must agree to live in the home for three years and it must be their sole residence.

No matter how you prepare for the upcoming school year, Benefits.gov has information to help you navigate this next stage of your life. We also recommend taking the Benefit Finder questionnaire to help determine your eligibility for over 1,200 benefit programs.

Child Care/Child Support
Education/Training