Search for College Grants by Degree Level
Financial Needs Change with Educational and Career Goals
Post-secondary education requires extraordinary funding, whether at the undergraduate level or beyond. Four-year bachelor’s programs are only the beginning for students committed to advanced education, and graduate school tuition often overshadows the cost of earning undergraduate or vocational degrees. Specialized education draws talented students, so the financial aid landscape is competitive at all levels – especially graduate school. The best approach for landing valuable assistance is to target scholarships and grants by degree level.
Financial aid comes from government agencies, private sector donors, educational foundations, universities, industry associations and a host of other committed program administrators. Federal assistance includes sweeping aid for all types of students, so use your academic level as a starting point for requesting college cash. Other personal attributes like race, cultural heritage, scholastic performance, athletic achievement and state of residency each contribute to your personal financial aid outlook for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs.
The first step is to find agreeable financing for undergraduate studies, and for most students that starts with the U.S.Department of Education. Uncle Sam has the deepest pockets for educational funding – especially need-based grants, so filing a standard financial aid request called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is priority number one for undergraduate university students.
Undergraduate Student Grants From State and Federal Sources
Undergraduates seeking aid have access to a wide assortment of resources, including:
- Federal Government backed grants and loans
- State Government funded programs
- Campus-specific aid from colleges and universities
- Philanthropic initiatives from business and industry
- Educational support from industry associations and professional organizations
Paying for college with borrowed money has obvious pitfalls – like interest and repayment. Scholarships and grants are attractive funding alternatives when they are available, so use strong academic, athletic and civic engagement to stand out on scholarship applications. The portion of your education that is funded by grants and scholarships does not require repayment, so secure as much merit-based aid as your talent allows, and then set your sights on need-based government-backed grants.
Federal and State Funded Grants
The FAFSA gathers important data about your family finances and resources for college. Income, assets and family size each play roles in determining your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), a number used by Federal and State Governments to gauge your financial needs for college. Financial aid administrators consider the cost of attending your school, less any scholarships you receive, to determine how much assistance you need meeting tuition obligations. Federally-backed resources are a part of most campus financial aid packages; including Pell Grants and Federal Direct Loans.
Pell Grants represent one of the most familiar and widely disbursed federally funded need-based awards. Pell Grants have made it possible for countless financially disadvantaged undergraduate students to attend college, but since grants are issued based on FAFSA scores, they also help students who expect to contribute some money to their own education.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are reserved for students with Expected Family Contributions that are at or near zero. The awards augment Pell resources for the neediest applicants.
State lottery games line the educational budgets of many states, which is good news for countless students who benefit from state-run lottery-funded educational assistance programs. Individual programs vary in size and scope, so consult your local education commission or campus financial aid office for the most up to date information about state-specific programs.
Popular Undergraduate Minority Grants
Ethnic minorities and women remain underrepresented in higher education, so some grants are set aside for particular minority groups within the student population. Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and individuals of Spanish descent are aided by student-specific funding initiatives designed to increase college access for certain groups. Grant money for women and minorities originates from advocacy groups, corporations and individual campus programs.
Some financial aid resources aim to recruit minority students into particular areas of study like science and technology. Grants for STEM subjects; science, technology, engineering and mathematics offer rich funding opportunities for qualified minority students.
Graduate Grants are Funded by Colleges and Universities
Specialized education leads to narrowly defined, institutional financial aid awards that target specific fields. Graduate students compete for scholarships and grants that support their ongoing research and are often administered by individual campus departments. Graduate school grants are sometimes harder to uncover, simply because they have smaller target audiences. Your campus financial aid professionals and this list of subject-specific grants help pave the road toward graduate school funding.
Popular Graduate Grants Serve Research and High-Need Fields
STEM students enjoy access to greater numbers of college grants than other academic majors – by virtue of advancing technology. To stay on the cutting edge of scientific advancement, graduate schools aggressively recruit top talent from undergraduate programs. Leaders in tech-oriented fields possess advantages that help them land forward-thinking student assistance awards.
Other fields like nursing and teaching also attract widespread financial aid resources. Cities and schools are experiencing shortages in the number of available qualified medical professionals and educators. College students who choose these majors are rewarded with generous financial assistance incentives. Awards sometimes include service-for-tuition agreements that enable graduates to trade periods of employment at high-need facilities, for college tuition.
Private Corporations and Professional Organizations Woo Talent
Campus aid for graduate students includes funding from private sector benefactors committed to supporting higher education. Private corporations build the future workforce by funding graduate school grants & scholarships that support their own industries. Lucrative grants and internship opportunities draw talented achievers into careers that require masters degrees and PhDs.
Employers also provide access to educational grants and scholarships for staffers and their immediate family members. If you are following in mom’s or dad’s footsteps (even if you are not), check with his or her employer to see if you qualify for such a benefit.
Industry groups play active roles in education, supporting members and students seeking higher education. Business, law, accounting, engineering and other employment sectors each boast robust trade associations that contribute to undergraduate and graduate school financial aid solutions.
Doctoral Grants: University Fellowships are Common
PhD students receive grant aid packaged as paid fellowships and assistant positions in university academic departments. Students at this level of education have specific goals and qualifications, so universities that are engaged in research meet the financial needs of top PhD candidates. Faculty members are paired with leading PhD students to nurture talent and keep research programs on the cutting edge.
The Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship Award exemplifies financial aid opportunities existing at advanced levels of post-secondary education. The program was established in 1947 to help engineering students. Today, the awards go to promising graduate students in other STEM areas as well. Competition for the fellowships is merit based, and universities work with program administrators to cover the total cost of each recipient’s education. Personal support stipends are also included to help offset cost of living for program participants.
Professional associations, particularly those in sciences and technology fields, have aid programs in place for graduate student members. Local chapters issue stipends for annual conferences and educational meetings, and research fellowships originate through partnerships with corporate donors and other private sector benefactors.