101 College Grants You've Never Heard of:
You May Be Leaving Thousands On the Table
Most college-bound students are looking for ways to supplement their education fund. It’s nearly impossible to pay for a college education without some form of financial aid. Loans, both federal and private, help thousands of students every year finance their education, but that money needs to be repaid – and with interest.
Before considering any form of education loan, students need to investigate possible grants for which they may be qualified. Grant money for college never has to be repaid, and there are a wide array of grant programs designed to benefit every kind of student, and every course of study. Thousands of organizations, both public and private, have grant money to award to students who are struggling to cover the costs of their college tuition.
Proper Research Will Lead You to the Grants You Need
Finding the right grant programs to help pay for college takes time, research and diligence. You can begin by talking to your high school advisers and teachers, and then continue your investigations on your own. At this point the internet will be a primary tool in your search for education grants, as will your local libraries.
Any successful grant search begins with knowing yourself, your status as a student and your academic interests. This will help you narrow your focus, and will allow you to eliminate those grant programs for which you are not eligible. Remember, there are need-based grants, merit-based grants and career specific grants, and the first step is understanding the type of program you’re looking for. For example, if you are an Hispanic woman going to college to become an accountant, you will want to search for grant programs that are dedicated to Latin-American female students enrolled in business and accounting studies.
Begin your grant search early, to allow yourself plenty of time to find, and apply to, the various grant programs for which you may be eligible. As you begin to search for possible education grants, you will find that they come in all shapes and sizes. You will also find that many grant programs may be found in the most unlikely of places. Look deeply, leave no stone unturned, and you may find the necessary education grants that will help meet your college costs.
Where To Start
The following list of education grants is expansive in the scope of the programs it covers, but it is by no means exhaustive. Some of the 101 listings are for single grant programs, while others are a gateway to a list of further financial aid programs. At the very least, these 101 Grants Opportunities will give you an idea of the vast array of programs that exist to help deserving students find the money they need for college. It should also, hopefully, give you the confidence to keep searching until you find the grant program that will benefit you.
The U.S Department of Education’s Federal grant programs undoubtedly have the highest profile of any of the grants on this list. These grants are the starting point for and college-bound students looking to find financial aid for their post-secondary education.
- The Federal Pell Grant is available to students who demonstrate the requisite amount of financial need. It is open to all college-bound students, and application is made by filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
Merit-Based and Need
- The Academic Competitiveness Grant is available to students who have already qualified for the Pell grant. A grant award of $750 is available to freshman students, and a further award of up to $1300 is available to qualifying sophomores. The ACG is open to students majoring in a critical need area, such as math, science, technology, engineering and foreign languages.
- The National SMART Grant is a continuation of the AC Grant, and is open to undergraduates in their third and fourth year of study. An annual grant award of $4000 is available juniors and seniors continuing their studies in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.
Federal Study Abroad Grants
- The Boren Awards for International Study offers assistance to undergraduates traveling to study language and culture. Emphasis is placed on those regions where knowledge of the local language and culture would benefit U.S. national security. The grant is part of the National Security Education Program.
- The Benjamin A Gilman Award is open to undergraduate students for study abroad. The program is open to students who have already qualified for the Federal Pell Grant. The Gilman Award is a continuing program of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
State Sponsored Grants
Every state maintains its own college grant programs, and they are typically only available to student residents. While it would be impossible to list every education grant from each state in the union in the space available here, the following examples will give students an idea of the types of programs that may be available through their own state governments. College-bound students are encouraged to visit their state’s higher education website for detailed information on any and all merit-based and need-based grant programs which may be available.
- The Central Alabama Community Foundation is a state based charitable organization. One of their main directives is to provide financial aid to eligible college-bound students from disadvantaged counties throughout Alabama.
- The Arizona Private Post-Secondary Education Student Financial Assistance Grant provides financial aid to resident students who have attended a community college, and wish to pursue their baccalaureate degree at a 4 year college or university within the state. The maximum award is $2000 per year.
- Colorado’s Department of Higher Education offers financial assistance to qualifying students in the form of undergraduate and graduate education grants, work study programs and various tuition assistance initiatives. These programs are open to resident students attending a participating Colorado college or university.
- The Kansas Board of Regents sponsors a number of grants and scholarships for resident students, including the Kansas Comprehensive Grant, the Kansas Nursing Service Scholarship and the Kansas teacher service Scholarship. Award amounts vary according to need and availability.
- The state of Michigan offers eligible resident students the Michigan Tuition Grant. The MTG is available to undergraduate students with the requisite financial need. Awards are restricted to the cost of tuition.
- Texas offers a large number of financial aid programs for its resident college-bound students through the College for All Texans initiative. Chief among the many grants and scholarships offered is the Texas Grant. This need-based grant offers awards ranging from $4400 to $7400 depending on need, academic status and type of college being attended.
- The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation offers a wide range of grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness programs. The most notable examples include the NYS Tuition Assistance Program, the NYS Educational Opportunity Program and the NYS Math and Science Teaching Incentive Scholarship.
- Delaware’s Department of Higher Education sponsors a number of scholarships and grants for residents students including the Scholarship Incentive Program and the Governor’s Education Grant for Unemployed Adults. Awards are based on need as well as merit, and are open to to all Delaware residents.
Most colleges and universities offer a variety of grants as a way to attract a diverse student body to their campuses. Grants may be need-based or merit-based, and often they will be dedicated to a specific course of study or career goal.
- The University of California at Santa Cruz offers many financial aid programs for student residents of California. The Blue + Gold Opportunity Plan is a full tuition grant for students with an annual income of less than $80,000.
- Wichita State University awards more than $100 million in grants, scholarships and student loans each year through its Office of Financial Aid.
- Mount Marty College is a Catholic college in South Dakota. The school routinely offers a number of scholarships and grants, including the Mount Marty Grant for dependent students living on campus. Annual awards are $4000 for qualifying students.
- Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts & Sciences sponsors a wide array of grants and scholarships through its Division of Jewish Studies . Programs are open to both undergraduates and graduate students pursuing a degree in Jewish Studies.
- Graceland University in Iowa provides a large number of grants and scholarships for its undergraduate students. Programs include the Founders Grant, the Art Performance Grant and the Theatre Production Grant.
- Pacific Lutheran University offers the Alumni Dependent Grant. This $1000 award is available to students whose parents attended PLU for at least on academic term.
- Purdue University sponsors the Span Plan for adult learners returning to complete their college education. The grant includes the cost of a three credit hour class, plus a stipend for books.
- Duke University’s Asian Pacific Studies Institute administers the Janet Chiang Grant. This award is open to students pursuing their studies in Asian-American relations. Special consideration is given to students pursuing a course of studies in Asian-American cultural or legal issues.
- The University of Mississippi offers the Sumners Grant for students from the Attala, Carroll, Choctaw, Montgomery and Webster counties. Award amounts range form $625 – $2500 per semester depending on full or part time status of the student.
- Virginia Commonwealth University sponsors the Emerging Technologies Research Grant for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in VCU’s technology programs.
- Burlington College offers it’s own grant to help undergraduates bridge the gap between their college fund and any unmet needs. The maximum award amount is $2000.
Course and Career Specific Grants
The following entries in our list of 101 education grants are dedicated to specific course studies, or particular career paths. They may be sponsored by universities, private and public endowments or professional associations.
- The TIAA-CREF Ruth Simms Hamilton Research Fellowship supports students engaged in advanced research in African-American Studies. The fellowship grant is available at a number of universities and colleges, including UCLA, Drexel University and the University of Iowa.
- The American Floral Endowment offers scholarships, internships and grants for students engaged in horticultural studies. The American Floral Grant is administered on select college campuses through the Pi Alpha Xi Honor Society.
- The American Rhododendron Society sponsors a number of comprehensive research grants for graduate students engaged in the advanced study of horticultural genetics, pest control, and fertilization techniques.
- The Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program sponsors a variety of education grants for graduate students engaged in research into sustainable organic farming techniques.
- The Future Farmers of America sponsors scholarships and grants for students pursuing a post-secondary education in farming and agricultural studies. More than $2 million dollars in education grants and scholarships are awarded annually.
- The American Anthropological Association sponsors a wide range of education grants and fellowships for students majoring in Anthropology, including the AAA Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program. The grant is open to minority student applicants from ethnic groups that have been historically underrepresented in the fields of science and research.
- The Archaeological Institute of America offers six annual fellowships to graduate students for the purpose of travel and study in the preparation of their dissertations. Fellowships are open to student members of the AIA only.
- The University Film and Video Association sponsors the Carole Fielding Student Grant. Up to $1000 is awarded annually to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in film and televisual arts.
- The Academy of Art University offers their annual Portfolio Grant for visual artists. 300 grants are awarded yearly to undergraduate students. Applicants must submit a sample portfolio, and eligibility is determined by academic merit and artistic achievement.
- The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation awards annual grants to student playwrights. Submissions must represent gay and lesbian lifestyles in a positive light, and must be centered on an historical event or person. Awards are in the amount of $1000.
- The Jacob K. Javits Fellowships Program is administered by the Federal Government. Grants are awarded to graduate students in a variety of fields including fine art, creative writing, music and theater arts. Award amounts vary depending on available funding.
- The Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon awards an annual grant of $15,000 to post-graduate students pursuing a doctoral degree in art, and working towards the completion of a dissertation or thesis on cartooning history and techniques.
- The Costume Society of America sponsors the Stella Blum Student Research Grant. This annual $2000 grant is awarded to undergraduate and graduate students engaged in research into North American Costume. The award is only availaable to student members of the CSA.
- The Handweavers Guild of America offers their annual Convergence Grant for students engaged in the study of weaving and fiber arts. The grant is part of a work study program in which the student gains hands on training while acting as an assistant to a resident professor or instructor.
Athletics and Recreation
- The National Strength and Conditioning Associations sponsors a variety of grants and scholarships. Programs are open to graduate students engaged in research into nutrition, exercise and body maintenance. Award amounts range from $5000 for Master’s students to $10,000 for Doctoral students.
- USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the United States Tennis Association, provides both scholarship and grant opportunities for tennis playing students from at risk backgrounds. Programs include the annual Okechi Womeodu Scholar Athlete Grant.
- The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants sponsors a wide variety of grants, scholarships and fellowships for student members. Awards range from $2500 to $5000.
- The Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation offers scholarships and grants to dependent students of military veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart. Award amounts vary, and applicants must be enrolled in business studies at an accredited university or college.
- State Farm Insurance supports a number of grant and scholarship programs for the college-bound dependents of active and retired employees. Applicants must be attending an accredited university or college, and be enrolled in business studies. Award amounts range from $2500 to $8000.
- The National Science Foundation supports the Computing Education for the 21st Century Grant. The annual award targets undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a career in computer technology. 30 grants are awarded annually.
- The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers offers a number of grant and scholarship programs, including the IEEE Computational Society Summer Research Grant for graduate students. This grant funds the research of deserving student scholars into the areas of neural networking and evolutionary computation. Award amounts range from $1000 to $4000.
- The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation sponsors a number of grant and scholarship programs for students enrolled in a hospitality management program at a partnering college, university or technical school. The AH & LEF awards as much as $390,000 in grants and scholarships annually.
- The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University offers fellowships grants for working journalists who are returning to college to expand their education in various journalistic fields. Programs include the Reynolds Fellowship in Community Journalism and the Arts & Culture Reporting Fellowship. Award amounts vary depending of course of study.
- The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing supports a variety of grants and fellowships for journalism students pursuing a career in science and technology reporting. Fellowships for graduate students are awarded annually in the amount of $5000.
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutionis dedicated to the preservation of the world’s oceans. The WHOI offers the annual Ocean Science Journalism Fellowship for graduate students pursuing research in oceanographic and ocean engineering-related journalism.
- Ohio University administers the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism Fellowship. This program is aimed at working journalists who are returning to college to pursue further studies in Public Affairs Reporting. Emphasis is on journalism in the age of digital media.
- The American Statistical Association administers the Gertrude M. Cox Grant for Women. The purpose of the grant is to encourage women to enter the historically male dominated field of statistics. The grant is open to women pursuing their mathematical studies at the graduate level.
- Alpha Mu Theta, the National High School and Two Year College Honor Society, sponsors merit-based grants and scholarships for low-income students. Eligible students must be able to demonstrate a strong proficiency in mathematics.
- The American Mathematical Society administers the Waldemar J Trijitzinsky Memorial Award. The award is available to undergraduate and graduate students who a majoring in mathematics at an AMS member university. The amount of the annual award is $3000.
- The National Science Foundation offers the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to select students who are pursuing a graduate degree in mathematics. Graduate level mathematics majors are eligible for three years of financial support, up to a total of $30,000.
- The Broadcast Education Association provides an annual full term grant for students enrolled in broadcast media studies at a partnering college or university. The award is available to undergraduate and graduate students with an impressive academic record, and a history of community leadership.
- Pomona College administers the Stonehill Media Studies Research Grant. This grant is open to undergraduate students of Pomona College who are engaged in a media related research projects. Award amounts range from $500 to $3500.
- The American Advertising Federation of Cleveland sponsors annual grants and scholarships through their dedicated Education Foundation . Awards are open to all eligible Ohio college students pursuing a degree in advertising, marketing and communications. Awards are decided on the basis of merit, as well as financial need.
- The University of Hawaii at Manoa administers the Orvis Vocal Student Grant. The award is available to undergraduate and graduate students studying voice at UHM. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required, and applicants will be required to audition for the music department’s review board.
- Edgewood College offers the Fine Arts Award for freshman music students. Awards are available for students pursuing their studies in all orchestral instruments, as well as piano, voice and guitar. Applicants must submit audition tapes to be considered. The annual award amount is $2000, and is renewable up to four years.
- The American Brahms Society administers the annual Karl Geiringer Award for music majors working on a doctoral dissertation that relates to the music of Brahms. Awards range from $1000 to $2500. Students are required to submit an outline for the research project in order to be considered for the award.
- The Frank Huntington Beebe Fund for Musicians sponsors an annual fellowship grant for graduate music students. Emphasis is on composing and performing classical music. Applicants must be prepared to present a solid history of advanced musical accomplishment to be considered for the fellowship.
- The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund awards annual grants to undergraduate and graduate students studying photography at an accredited college or art institute. The emphasis is on humanistic photography, and awards are decided by portfolio submission. Award amounts range from $5000 to $30,000.
- The North American Nature Photography Association administers the The Janie Moore Green Grant. The $1000 grant is open to eligible students enrolled in an accredited art school or college. Awards are decided according to academic merit. Applicant are required to submit a portfolio of their work.
- The International Center Of Photography offers a number of fellowships grants for students pursuing a career as a photographer. The emphasis is on students pursuing the study of photojournalism.
- The American Baptist Home Mission Societies offers grants and scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants must be an active member of an American Baptist church, and be enrolled at an affiliated Baptist Seminary. Grant awards range from $500 to $3000.
- The Geologic Society of America offers the GSA/ExxonMobil Awards for both undergraduate and graduate students. Awards range from $2000 to $10,000, and are designed to financially support students engaged in summer term field research.
- The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation supports a number of grants including the Gustavus E. Archie Memorial Grant . The Archie Memorial grant is dedicated to providing financial support to graduate students completing their education in geology and applied petrophysics. The grant is administered through the University of Wisconsin.
- The Western Society of Malacolgists sponsors an annual Student Research Grant for graduate students engaged in marine biology research at an accredited university or college. The grant is specific to students who are specializing in the study of mollusks.
- The Evolving Earth Foundation is dedicated to the research and better understanding of the history of the Earth and its environmental future. The EEF sponsors a Student Grant Program for students pursuing their studies in earth sciences at the graduate level.
Historically underrepresented groups, such as African-Americans, Native-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics, are often eligible for higher education grants. Funding for these grant programs comes from a variety of sources, both public and private. Many grant programs are dedicated to increasing diversity in the traditionally white male dominated fields of science and business.
- The American Anthropological Association sponsors a large number of education grants, including the Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program. The program is open to students from historically underrepresented minority groups who are pursuing their doctoral degree in Anthropology.
- The American Association of Advertising Agencies supports a large number of grants and scholarships. Of particular interest to minority students is the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program which offers a paid 10 week internship to undergraduate and graduate level students pursuing a degree in advertising.
- The Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students provides financial aid to minority students enrolled in a hospitality management course at an accredited college or vocational school. The program is open to African-American, Hispanic, Native-American and Asian-American students.The annual award is $2000.
- The Asian American Journalists Association is dedicated to the advancement of Asian-Americans in both broadcast, print and digital media journalism. The AAJA sponsors both the Internship Grant for Broadcasting and the Chicago Tribune Print and New Media Internship Grant. Awards amounts range from $1500 to $2000.
- The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants sponsors a variety of grants and scholarships for minority students pursuing a career in accounting. The AICPA Minority Doctoral Fellowship awards $12,000 to minority students completing their doctoral program in accounting. The fellowship is open to African-American, Native-American and Hispanic students.
- The American Society of Criminology offers it’s annual Graduate Fellowship for Ethnic Minorities. The program is designed to encourage students of color to pursue a career in criminology. Applicants are eligible for an annual award of $6000.
Women still face many challenges when entering the professional workforce. While progress continues to be made, women remain underrepresented in a number of critical fields including science, medicine and business. In an effort to redress this imbalance, many lucrative grant opportunities are made available for female college students.
- The Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund, supported by the World Bank Group, offers an annual grant of $12,000 to female students from developing countries who are studying in the Unites States. Eligible recipients must be planning to return to their home country to use their degrees for the betterment of their homeland.
- The American Association of University Women supports a number of Selected Profession Fellowships designed to encourage women to return to college to expand their career opportunities. Grants are available for women pursuing careers in law, engineering, medicine and computer science.
- The International Federation of University Women sponsors fellowships and grants for graduate students who wish to study abroad as they complete their doctoral research. Applicants must be student members of the IFUW to be considered for any award. Award amounts vary depending on course of study, and travel costs.
- The Jeanette Ranking Foundation awards need-based education grants to women 35 and older. The foundation’s purpose is to give women the educational power they need to break the cycle of poverty.
- Zonta International is dedicated to advancing the status of women worldwide. Zonta sponsors the annual Amelia Earhart Fellowship, which provides a grant of $10,000 to women pursuing their PhD in Aerospace studies.
Grants for students with disabilities come from a variety of sources, and address a variety of different needs. Some grant programs are designed to help disabled students find their place in a traditional college campus environment, while others may offer financial aid to students attending a special needs school. Most grants for disabled students are specific to the applicants handicap, though some may be broadly applied to all disabled students.
- The Chair Scholars Foundation provides grant and scholarship opportunities to students with physical disabilities. The foundation is dedicated to helping low-income students with physical disabilities afford college or vocational training.
- The Jewish Guild for the Blind is one of the longest established advocacy groups for the visually impaired. JGB sponsors the annual Guild Scholar Award for college-bound students who are legally blind. Applicants are eligible for up to $15,000 in award money.
- The Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation offers an annual scholarship for women with disabilities. Applicants must be currently enrolled in a Masters degree program at an accredited college or university. Award amounts range from $500 to $2000.
Non-traditional students include those people who are returning to college after a prolonged absence, or those students returning for specific training for career advancement. Often women returning to college after raising a family, or single parents pursuing career advancement through education will fall into this category. Non-traditional students may also refer to those students who are changing from a technical school to a four year college or university.
- Soroptimist International of the Americas funds the Women’s Opportunity Awards, which provide financial aid for women who wish to return to college. Applicants must be the primary financial support for their household, and must be returning to school to improve their career skills.
- Executive Women International sponsors the Adult Students in Scholastic Transition Award. ASIST is available to adult students who are facing economic and social challenges, and who want to improve their situation through higher education. The annual award is $2500.
- P.E.O. International is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to women. P.E.O. supports a number of grants for women returning to college after a prolonged absence. Emphasis is on career training and advancement in traditionally male dominated fields.
- Denny’s Single Parent Scholarship Fund provides need-based grants for single parents of Hispanic background who are returning to college to advance their education. Award amounts range from $500 to $1500.
Students with Severe Medical Conditions/Diseases
All college-bound students face enormous challenges when it comes to financing their education. Students who are fighting, or have survived, a serious disease face an additional emotional challenge as they plan for their college education. Many charitable organizations provide much needed financial support for students with severe medical conditions, helping them achieve their dreams of a higher education.
- The Diabetes Scholars Foundation provides grants and scholarships for college students with Type 1 Diabetes. Awards are decided on a combination of academic merit, community service and financial need.
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network offers an annual $1500 award for students with severe allergies. Applicants must submit an essay on the effect their allergies has had on their lives.This program has been discontinued.
- The Susan G. Komen Foundation is one of the best known advocates for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. The foundation sponsors both grants and scholarships for students who have lost a parent to breast cancer. Awards of up to $10,000 are available, and are decided on a combination of scholastic achievement, community service and financial need.
- The Cancer Survivors Fund provides an abundance of financial aid for survivors of cancer, including scholarships and grants to help offset the cost of a college education.
Unique Grant Programs
The search for college grants can lead to some very unique financial aid opportunities. College-bound students looking for education grants will soon find there are programs to address almost any interest. The following grants are examples of the diverse types of financial aid programs that are available to the enterprising student searching for a way to offset the cost of their higher education. These examples also prove that focusing on your interests can lead you to financial aid opportunities which could otherwise go overlooked.
- The Harry S. Truman Library Institute Research Grants Program offers a number of fellowships and scholar awards for graduate students working on research relating to former President Harry Truman. Award amounts vary depending on the program, anywhere from $2500 to $16,000.
- The American Association of Cereal Chemists International sponsors a number of annual fellowship grants for graduate students pursuing research into cereal and grain-based food science. Awards range from $2000 to $3000. Applicants must be student members of the AACC to be considered for the award.
- The Massage Therapy Foundation provides grants to students and individuals conducting research in the field of massage therapy. Award amounts are decided by review board, and applicants must submit an outline of their research project for consideration.
- Team America Rocket Challenge annually rewards ten high school teams for their excellence in model rocket design. Annual awards include $60,000 in cash and scholarships to be shared amongst the ten finalists.
- The National Make It With Wool Contest is open to college students aged 17 – 24. The competition involves the design, manufacture and modeling of an original woolen garment. First prize at the national level is a $1000 education grant.
- The American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) sponsors the Rhoads Research Foundation Grants. These grants are open to graduate students and post-graduate professionals conducting research into clinical nutrition. Award amounts range from $16,000 to $25,000.
- The Jewish Vocational Services of Chicago offers grant opportunities to Jewish college students who are residents of Cook County and the Chicago Metropolitan area. Preference is given to those students who are pursuing careers in community service.
- The Council on International Education Exchange supports the John Bowman Travel Grant for students who are studying abroad. Emphasis is on non-traditional regions including Africa, Asia and Latin America. All awards are $1000.
- Huntingdon College supports a number of grants for both undergraduate and graduate students. These programs include the Scarlet and Grey Grant for members of the college’s marching band and dance team, and the Cross and Flame Grant for active members of the Methodist church. Award amounts range from $4000 to $10,000.
- The Endangered Language Fund supports grants for graduate and post-doctoral students who are studying ancient languages. Special emphasis is given to the preservation of Native-American languages.
For more information on college grants, and how to find them, see our section on Education Grant Benefits and Opportunities.