How to Find Grants
Merit Based Grants
Merit Grant Application
Need Based Grants
The world of college grants may be large and complicated, but it needn't be confusing. Utilizing a precision tuned grant search can help you focus in on the grants for which you are most qualified, increasing your chances of finding that much needed financial aid. Avoid a scatter-shot approach, and search for education grants that pertain to your specific field of interest, your social and ethnic background, and your college of choice.
There are a number of strategies you might employ when searching for college grants. We have discussed grants by student type in another section, so here we will focus on finding suitable college grants by subject. If you know what you want to study, and you know what your ultimate career goals are, you already have a good starting point for finding the right grants to match your college aims and financial needs.
The term 'arts' is all inclusive, and covers everything from modern dance to creative writing, theater to visual arts. Students don't just study 'the arts', they focus in on the artistic field for which they have the greatest passion. Once you can identify the art-form that most inspires and excites you, and the one for which you have the most talent, you will be well on your way to finding the grant to match your passion.
Begin your search by looking at grants specific to your artistic talent and interest. A web search is a good place to start with these kinds of searches. Let's say you want to study modern dance and are a resident of Florida. As an example, you would search for 'modern dance grant Florida'. Using these limiters in your search you would find the annual dance scholarship offered by the George Snow Scholarship Fund, available to resident students studying at an accredited university in Florida.
Of course, one of the best sources for grant information is your teachers and advisers. They can point you in the direction of grants and scholarships specific to your talents. Also be sure to investigate the grant opportunities funded by private and public organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the many art schools and art institutes around the country. These are always fertile ground for grants and scholarships for the right student.
The first step is to decide which field of science you are going to study. Do you want to explore grants for the physical sciences like chemistry and biology, or the social sciences like psychology or anthropology? Will your studies be general, or will you be pursuing a degree in a niche field of one of the larger disciplines? Making these decisions early will help you focus in on the available grants that are specific to your educational goals.
As with any grant search, the best place to start is with your college advisers and current teachers. They can provide information on grants and scholarships for which you are most suitable. Following that, an internet search can provide a number of useful leads. Search by subject of study, and combine that with choice of college or state of residence. These kinds of searches can deliver a number of useful results. For example, a search for 'marine biology grants in California' brings a large number of results such as the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, and the California State University at Monterey Bay. Both of which offer a number of grants to qualifying California students pursuing their studies in marine biology.
Women and minorities have been historically under-represented in the major scientific disciplines. In an effort to diversify both the student body and the general scientific workforce, the Federal government offers numerous grants designed to encourage minority students to enter into the many science fields. The National SMART Grant and the Federal TEACH Grant are designed to help formerly under-represented students pursue their science studies at the collegiate level. These can be a great source of financial aid for the minority student looking to enter into career in the physical and social sciences.
Math is considered one of the core STEM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STEM_fields) subjects, and there is currently a national push to encourage students from all backgrounds to enter these fields. Whether your specific interest is in accounting, finance or theoretical applied mathematics there are a large number of grants and scholarships tailored to suit your needs and goals. Accounting and finance majors will find many grants sponsored by business associations, while students pursuing degrees in higher maths will want to investigate what is being offered by the college or university of their choice.
Students interested in higher mathematics should turn first to their Federal and State governments. The Federal government in particular offers a number of Math specific grants for qualifying students. In addition to the Pell Grant the they sponsor the SMART Grant for students pursuing their studies in science or applied mathematics. Your local state government also offers grants to encourage math and science majors to enroll in state colleges, and they can be a good source for financial aid to eligible students. Check your states authorized web-site for more detailed information.
Many organizations and business associations also sponsor grants and scholarships, often aimed at women and minority students, in an effort to draw the best and brightest into the workforce. Your high school teachers and career advisers can help you locate grants specific to your mathematical field of interest. And again, an internet search can yield great results when you focus on your interests and your career goals to locate applicable grants and scholarships.
Information Technology continues to be a growing field of study. Constant advances in technology have made for a shortage of qualified graduates ready to enter the workforce. As such a number of organizations, both public and private, offer substantial grants to eligible students studying in IT and Tech related fields. As with any grant search, focus on your area of specialization. If you are pursuing a degree in programming or software development, look for grants from businesses and associations that specifically target your career goals. A web search will be particularly helpful here, and remember to narrow your search criteria by discipline, specialization and local to get the best results.
The Federal government offers grants for students enrolled in studies particular to the STEM disciplines. The SMART Grant, once a gain, is a prime source for Federal financial aid for students in the Tech field. Also look into other government agencies, such as NASA, NOAA and the Department of Homeland Security. All offer grants to students studying in various technology fields important to their operation. These can be a good source of funding for your college education, as well as a foot in the door to a career opportunity.
Engineering is another of the pivotal STEM fields, and there are a number of lucrative grant and scholarship opportunities for the right student. Once again Federal grants can be a good source for financial aid, and don't neglect to investigate Federal agencies like the Department of Energy and NASA for applicable engineering grants.
Women and minority students can also find a rich supply of college grants coming from national engineering associations. Minorities have been historically under-represented in the engineering field, and many organizations are working to diversify the ranks of students and employees by offering grants to qualified minority and women students. For example, the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers offers an annual scholarship for Latino students pursuing their degree in an engineering field. You can find many grant opportunities like this by focusing on your specific field of interest coupled with your gender or ethnicity.
The engineering field is comprised of a few dozen niche industries, everything from aerospace engineering to petroleum engineering. It may be beneficial to find a professional organization in your particular specialty, join as a member and you get access to any educational engineering grants and scholarships they might offer. This will also give you access to many national and regional conferences, networking opportunities and other educational events.
Nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals remain in high demand. Nurses especially are experiencing a critical shortage in the United States. To help eliminate that shortage, Federal and State governments offer a number of grant opportunities to qualifying nursing students. The National Health Service Corps, for example, offers an annual scholarship to qualifying nursing students in exchange for 2 to 4 years of service in an under-served community. Many state governments offer similar programs, usually in exchange for a promise of service in a disadvantaged local community.
National health care organizations are also a good source of grants and scholarships for students looking to enter the medical profession. For example the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and the Radiological Society of North America both offer grants and scholarships to students pursuing their education in a related field.
In an effort to improve the status of minorities in the healthcare industry, a number organizations and foundations provide grants to qualifying minority students pursuing a career in medicine. The National Black Nurses Association and the Hispanic Dental Association offer annual grants and scholarships to deserving minority students entering their respective fields.
There are many grant opportunities for students looking to enter the healthcare field. Begin by narrowing your focus onto what aspect of healthcare you wish to pursue. Couple that with your location, your background and your college of choice and you will find plenty of opportunities for the right student.
Business degrees come in many different niche fields. Marketing, Finance, Administration, Human Resources, Sales, Advertising and many more career paths fall under the general heading of a business education. This can make finding the right college grant a bit more time consuming, but the general rules still apply. Narrow your focus to the business field you wish to pursue, and apply for those grants that most suit your goals and background.
Once again, historically under-represented minority groups have an edge here. In an effort to diversify the workforce, many colleges, as well as private and public organizations provide grants for minority students looking to enter into the business world. Try searching for business related educational grants by combining your field of interest with your ethnic background or gender. This will help narrow the results down to grants and scholarships for which you may be particularly eligible.
Look to your high school career adviser and teachers to help point you in the direction of specific grants that suit your situation and goals. As always an internet search can turn up a number of lucrative grant opportunities.
Vocational and trade schools have become a growing option for high school graduates who may not be interested in a traditional liberal arts education. The major benefit of a vocational school education is it prepares you for immediate placement in the workforce. By giving a student career specific training in fields as diverse as construction, welding, automotive repair and even some IT jobs vocational schools help to place talented young workers in stable and lucrative careers.
Grants for vocational and trade schools are more prevalent than you may think. Trade unions, technical colleges, professional associations and the government all provide regular grant opportunities to eligible students. Begin by searching for grants related to your particular career goals. For instance, if you are interested in becoming a chef search specifically for culinary school grants. You'll soon find a number of opportunities available to you, such as the James Beard Foundation's regular grant and scholarship programs for young chefs.
Don't neglect the tried and true avenues for college grant money. The Federal government, as well as your state government, offers grants for vocational training as well as liberal arts educations. You may find you are eligible for financial aid from the the government as well as from private organizations.
Remember, the search for an educational grant begins with you. Narrow your focus, combine your attributes and singularities with your field of interest, and you will be well on your way to finding the right grant to put you on the road to your college education.