Education Grant Benefits and Opportunities
Grants are distinctly different from both scholarships and student loans in that they are free gift money—so unlike student loans that must be repaid—and primarily need-based, compared to traditionally merit-based scholarships. Grants may be divided into the following searchable categories:
- Degree Level
Common sources for grant funding:
- Federal and state governments
- Colleges and universities
- Public and private organizations
The federal government is putting more money into the hands of college students than ever before and much of the impetus behind it is the No Child Left Behind Act. The measures help to assure that more primary and secondary schools are held accountable for making sure kids get the attention and education they deserve without prejudices. Which means a much higher percentage of high school students are earning diplomas. More students stand a chance of attending college when the right financial and social resources are available to them along with educators with the know-how and experience to guide them to the right academic and career choices.
The following federal grant programs offer hundreds of thousands of students the necessary assistance that makes college affordable:
- The Pell Grant, in existence since 1972, remains one of the staples of federal funding for millions of low-income students. This fundamental grant program is somewhat at the mercy of the federal government’s budgetary and political whims, but nevertheless remains a valuable source of funding for impoverished undergraduate students.
- The Academic Competitiveness (AC) Grant is available to undergraduate freshman and sophomores with outstanding academic records and with demonstrated aptitudes for leadership and service. Qualifying candidates must also be Pell Grant eligible.
- The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART Grant) picks up where the Academic Competitiveness Grant leaves off - with $4,000 awards to undergraduate juniors or seniors studying computer science, engineering, mathematics, or sciences. Applicants must be eligible for and receiving the Pell Grant.
Grants for Girls
For generations women were disregarded on most college campuses. Many educators argue that women are in general not as engaged on a coeducational campus as they are on a women's campus. Private women's colleges have continued to thrive thanks to the generosity of corps of alumnae, innovative curricula, and expanded programs such as athletics that round out a more complete educational experience.
Grant Programs that are designed for Women, promote their participation in underrepresented degree programs such as the sciences, mathematics and business. The American Competitiveness Initiative is designed to introduce and prepare future generations of students at primary and secondary levels to be more assertive in subjects like math and science. But for now big corporations and professional organizations emphasize grants and scholarships that reward those students studying in underrepresented professions. One of the most influential organizations, the American Association of University Women, offers an outstanding array of grants to minority and disadvantaged women looking to return to college, or pursue a degree for the first time.
Popular Student-Specific Grants
There is little limit on the types of students seeking college grant money. However we have created some loose categories that successfully embrace significant populations of students. The most popular Grants that are Student-Specific are:
- Low-income and disadvantaged
- Graduate and doctoral
- High school and undergraduate
There is no reason a student should be denied a college education because of lack of money. Many federal, state, college or private organizations subsidize awards for those that they feel are the most in need of support or assistance.
Graduate and Doctoral Students
Many types ofgrant programs for Grad Students and Doctoral Candidates are available from colleges and universities and private organizations. Colleges and universities are quite competitive in offering grant awards to the right candidates. In some instances grants support most of a doctoral student's research and living expenses.
Grad students who must travel to participate in studies abroad, take part in research, or professional conferences may discover a slew of small grants administered by professional organizations or college travel grants designed to cover such auxiliary expenses.
Popular undergraduate grants range from general grant programs that provide monetary incentive to low-income and disadvantaged students to specialized grants in Math and Engineering, for example (SMET subjects). There are huge opportunities here for females, too. High school students enrolling in college; do not overlook your college’s grant hand-outs. Most smaller, private colleges are quite generous when it comes to kicking in funds to augment financial aid. They are more interested in attracting quality students regardless of financial ability to pay.
Considering the fact that scores of professional organizations have active educational funds that help foster their fields of interest, it's no wonder that it is just as easy to shop for grants based on subject or field of interest. Corporations spend millions of dollars offering internships, fellowships, scholarships and grants intended to attract academically driven and talented students to their corporate folds.
High Need Fields Grant Giving
There are fields of study that draw considerable funding from sources in large part due to challenging shortages. The fields with the most significant shortages drive the biggest supply of grants:
- Healthcare, especially nursing