Back to School Grants
It can be difficult to go back to school months or even years after graduating from high school. You may be concerned that you will feel odd sitting in a class room with students younger than yourself. You may have already begun a family which means your time and financial resources are different than they were when you were 18 years old. You’ve doubtless heard about student loan programs but wish to avoid that debt. Or maybe you considered scholarships but suspect you won’t qualify.
What you may not know about is the availability of back to school grants. The other trepidations will have to be overcome on your own, but government grants to go back to school can eliminate or at least ease the financial burden. Besides tuition and books, some grants even make available supplementary funds for child care and other expenses.
- Particular Study Grants. Some grants are valid for particular types of degrees, such as nursing or teaching. For example the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH) for students who plan to be educators in a school that serves students from low-income families.
- Income Criteria Grants. Grants exist for people with extraordinary financial need – such as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).
- College/University Grants. Grants are sometimes available directly from the college or university. They can have a wide spectrum of requirements – anything from maintaining a specific grade average to remain eligible to doing a certain number of community service hours. Furthermore, some schools have work study programs in place in which you provide volunteer work on the campus in return for some of your educational costs.
- Scholarships. Although many scholarships are merit based, there are some that awarded based on other criteria. Since the terms “grant” and “scholarship” are sometimes used to mean the same thing, do not overlook a funding opportunity just because it is called a scholarship.
- Corporate Grants. Check with your employer – many have at least small grants or tuition reimbursement programs in their benefits packages.
- Organizations. Check with any organizations that you have a membership as these may have small grants available for their members.
One piece of advice is important to remember – don’t just apply for one grant. The more you apply for, the better your chances of being granted what you need to cover your education. Consider also that while some grants and scholarships will cover everything, some will only cover a few hundred dollars worth. You will need a handful or more of these smaller grants to accomplish your goal. Don’t get discouraged, an education is always worth the sacrifices!