College is a big investment, but statistics show that people with degrees earn an average of a million dollars more over their lifetimes than those without degrees. Getting the money to pay for that degree is difficult for most people, and they turn to scholarships and grants to assist them. Scholarships and grants are different from loans in that they do not have to be repaid. The first step for any student is completing the FAFSA form. Once they receive their awards letters they will know how much more money they will need to make their expected contribution to the cost of their education. They then can look for other financial opportunities. While there is no best scholarship for every type of student, there are scholarships and grants to meet most needs. Besides the federal government, states and cities, schools, businesses and private individuals fund these types of student aid.
Scholarships at Community Colleges and Technical Schools
These two-year institutions attract many non-traditional students as well as some students who want to start their careers as soon as possible. There are many technical colleges that offer scholarships to incoming students. Additionally, corporations and businesses fund scholarships for individuals studying to enter careers like automotive technology, HVAC, and X-ray technology.
Students who attend community colleges will find that there are some opportunities for those programs as well. Additionally, there are scholarships for students who are using junior colleges as a stepping-stone to a four-year institution. This is a great tactic since community colleges tend to cost less, so attending the first two years there and transferring makes sense.
Scholarships for Adults and Older Students
Magazines and TV ads offering assistance to senior citizens who want to return to school are abundant. However, older students do not always have silver hair. Some people leave school after high school or after some college and then decide to return. People who want a “second start” will find there is financial aid available to help them. For one thing, most scholarships have no age stipulation. Also, people who are working for a company might check to see if there is a program to help them get a degree. These may have stipulations such as repaying some of the money after graduation or agreeing to work for the company for a certain length of time.
Education funding for older students often (but not always) includes courses or even entire degree programs earned online. This allows students to continue working and study when it is convenient for them. Students and their parents who are considering online degree programs or even online schools should check funding stipulations to make certain that scholarships and grants cover online learning.
The “Average Joe” Scholarships
Everyone does not graduate from high school with a 4.0 or above grade point average. Believe it or not, there are many scholarships for people who have average grades. Companies, for instance, often fund assistance for people interested in working in their industry or even in their corporation. Service organizations such as the International Lions Clubs offer financial assistance for higher education as do organizations such as P.E.O. and others.
There are awards for community service that earn participants scholarship money as well. Companies such as “DoSomething.org” encourage people to begin service projects of their own such as collecting clothing for the homeless. They have themes and award money based on the completion of projects. People who participate in these themes can earn $1,000 on completion and those completing all of the listed themes can earn $32,000 toward their educations.
While a student may fall into the “average” category academically, he or she may excel in other areas. There are scholarships available for people who are good athletes, for those who play musical instruments or sing, and even for those good at playing video games. Students should take a personal inventory of their talents and abilities beyond the classroom and check for scholarships and grants in those areas.
Scholarships for Students Adopted out of Foster Care
This type of funding is made available to students by states and by private organizations such as the Casey Foundation and the National Foster Parents Association. Sometimes the grants are merely tuition waivers, but other opportunities cover room and board and other expenses as well. The best scholarships are renewable, so it is important to verify if it is a one-time award or whether it can be renewed.
Scholarships for Minorities
Students who think about minority scholarships as those for certain racial or ethnic groups might be surprised to learn that women might be considered as a minority. Displaced homemakers certainly are, as are people with certain disabilities. It is worth the time to investigate these awards as it is possible that a student might fit into a minority category.
Because of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, people with conditions such as ADHD and Autism must be served by universities. This mandates schools to offer assistance and accommodations but may also include funding educations for people with disabilities.
American Indians and people from disadvantaged areas qualify as minorities. States such as Arizona and New Mexico where the Native American population is high offer governmental scholarships, but there are also tribal grants and school assistance.
Scholarships for Graduate Students
Often the best scholarships are offered to incoming freshmen, followed by undergraduate grants and scholarships. Graduate students, however, can apply for many assistance programs offered by the department that houses their degrees. There are many professional organizations such as the American Bar Association that offer assistance for people in graduate programs.
Additionally, private donors fund memorial scholarships or grants in honor of individuals. Graduate students may also apply for assistantships that require them to do some service in the department housing their degree such as serving as an instructor.
In fact, most students need help paying for their degrees. Getting that help begins with the completion of the FAFSA form, looking at state aid and checking the school website for their awards. Beyond that, the Internet offers resources for locating the best scholarships for every type of student. While it may require some work on the student’s and the parent’s part, most people will find that they will qualify for one or more student financial assistance programs.
Here is some information get you started on your search for scholarships:
- 10 Great Scholarship Apps
- 10 Great Scholarships for X-Ray Technicians
- 15 Great Scholarships for College Freshmen
- 15 Great Scholarships for College Juniors
- 15 Great Scholarships for Ph.D. Students
- 15 Great Scholarships for Transfer Students
- 15 Great Scholarships for Veterans
- 15 Great Scholarships for Writers
- 20 Great Scholarships for High SAT Scores
- 25 Great Scholarships for Pharmacy Students
- 30 Great Scholarships for Pre-Med Students
- 35 Great Scholarships for Design Majors
- 35 Great Scholarships for High School Seniors
- 35 Great Scholarships for Online Students
- 35 Great Scholarships for Single Moms
- 40 Great Scholarships for Business Majors
- 40 Great Scholarships for First-Generation College Students
- 40 Great Scholarships for International Students
- 40 Great Scholarships for Kinesiology Majors
- 40 Great Scholarships for Minorities
- 40 Great Scholarships for Study Abroad
- 45 Great Scholarships for Latino Students
- 50 Great Scholarships for Non-traditional Students
- Six Great Colleges for Volleyball Scholarships