North Dakota Student Grants for College
Fund Your Education with Free Grant Money
Education is important, and the state of North Dakota recognizes that. The desire is to keep talented people in North Dakota, bolstering the economy and contributing to their fellow citizens.
North Dakota also boasts a large Native American population, and is committed to extending a hand to those communities as well.
North Dakota backs up this philosophy where it counts - with dollars. There are several grant and scholarship programs available to college students in North Dakota.
North Dakota Grants, Scholarships, and Loans
First of all, it's important to understand the difference between a grant, a scholarship, and a student loan. A student loan is just exactly what it sounds like - a loan made from a bank or the government to a college student, based on need, and is paid back with interest after graduation.
Grants and scholarships are different from loans and similar to each other in that they are not paid back. They both represent free money.
Typically, grants are based on need and scholarships are based on merit, but the line between them is often blurred, with some grants requiring a minimum GPA and some scholarships being awarded based on need.
Also, grants typically require re-application each year, while most scholarships are for a fixed amount of time.
Where do Grants Come From?
Grants often come from a government entity, rather than a private company or individual. People often think of the Pell Grant, a federally funded grant, when they think of money for college. The Pell Grant is definitely the largest and most common grant available.
The Pell Grant is determined solely based on financial need, as determined by the FAFSA. The Pell Grant is not the only government grant, though.
Most states offer grants funded through their state's lottery. Grants do not only come from the government, they can also come from a private entity.
Do a thorough search when looking for grant money. While most grants are based on financial need, be sure to search for other criteria, like field of study, ethnicity, gender, degree level, or minority status.
Females, minorities, those with financial need, and those pursuing career fields that are in need in the state receive the highest priority for these grant funds.
Searching for Grants in North Dakota
The best place to start searching for grants is on the state website. North Dakota has a portal for the state government that has everything you need to know about preparing, applying, financing, and attending college in the state.
Once North Dakota has helped students pay for college, they like to keep the talent local. They offer incentives to students who have used some student loans to pay for their education.
Student loan forgiveness and repayment programs apply directly to the balance on a student loan for people in certain careers, such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and teaching. They are like a grant, after the fact. There are specific requirements for each field, but it is definitely worth it.
Take the ACT (American College Test)
The SAT has long been the standard for college entrance tests, but the ACT is gaining much respect lately. Like the SAT, it is a three-hour standardized test, composed of multiple choice questions and one writing section.
It is intended for high school juniors and seniors to demonstrate their academic prowess and readiness for college level material. Simply filling out the demographic information section of the exam automatically submits applications to many grant and scholarship programs.
It is highly recommended that students take the ACT between October and May of their junior year.
Fill out the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a nationwide clearinghouse of grants, scholarships, and loans. Filling out the form requires information that is found on a tax return, and simple demographic information.
Prospective students also select a few schools to receive the results. Submitting the FAFSA automatically enters students' applications into a variety of scholarship, grant, and loan application pools. It is a standardized way for colleges to look at a student's or their family's financial picture, to determine need for financial aid. The deadline for many applications is March 15.
Fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible, as most money sources are limited, and when it's gone, it's gone. As with all grant and scholarship applications, earlier is better.
Apply to a North Dakota College, University, or Tribal University
The North Dakota University System offers five colleges and six universities to choose from. The end of the junior year is not too early to start applying to colleges.
Be ready to fill out applications by preparing a portfolio of best work, several letters of recommendation, and high school transcripts. Having this information handy will expedite applications.
Some schools make early decisions for admission, contingent upon performance in the senior year. Good students can know early on that their college decision is made, and focus on raising funds during the senior year in order to finance the endeavor.
North Dakota Grant and Scholarship Opportunities
The Pell GrantSubmit your FAFSA early; it automatically submits an application for the Pell Grant. This grant is based completely on financial need. The deadline is March 15.
Supplemental Educational Opportunity GrantThis grant is an extension of the Pell Grant, reserved for undergraduate students who exhibit exceptional financial need. Funding is limited for this grant, so early applicants will be more successful. Again, the FAFSA is the application.
Academic Competitiveness GrantFirst and second year recipients of the Pell grant who pursue a rigorous course of academic study qualify for this grant. Yet another reason to fill out that FAFSA right away.
Third and fourth year undergrads, this one is for you. It is another extension of the Pell Grant, applied for with the FAFSA.
Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, and must be pursuing a course of study in one of the following areas: mathematics, engineering, technology, life, physical, or computer sciences, or a world language deemed critical to national security.
Indian Scholarship Program
Scholarships based on a combination of need and merit are awarded to 150-175 students. The amounts vary, up to $2000.
Applicants must prove that they are North Dakota residents as well as tribal members, and need to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. Applications are available by contacting Rhonda Schauer, NDUS Coordinator for Multicultural Education, at 701-224-2497.
Tribal Higher Education Grant
In order to qualify, applicants must be an enrolled member and have at least 1/4 degree of Native American descent from a federally recognized tribe.
Enrollment in course work is a prerequisite, and students must re-apply for each academic year, as well as summer school terms. Grants are based on need. Application materials are available from the Tribal Education Director.
North Dakota Scholarship Program
This merit-based scholarship is designed to keep some of the brightest students in the state. Scholarships are available for the top 55-60 students in North Dakota's colleges and universities.
The money covers tuition at any North Dakota state college or university, or tribal college. It also can cover partial tuition if the student attends a private college or university. The scholarship is renewable for up to three years. Students need to maintain a 3.5 GPA and have qualifying ACT scores.
Juniors in high school apply when they take the ACT assessment between October and June. There is not a separate application process.
North Dakota State Student Incentive Grants Program
Otherwise known as the "State Grant Program," North Dakota awards 7900 to 8500 students with $800 to $1500 per academic year.
Students may reapply each year. The program is open to graduates of a North Dakota high school or GED recipients. They must meet the requirements for admission at a state college, university, or tribal college, and enroll as a full-time student.
These grants are only available to residents of North Dakota who are first-time undergraduate students. To apply, simply fill out and submit the FAFSA by March 15.
North Dakota Space Consortium Grant Scholarships
The NDSCG funds scholarships at each of the two-and four-year colleges as well as the tribal colleges in North Dakota.
Undergraduate students need to be U.S. citizens and enrolled in a science, math, or engineering field of study. Each schools' Office of Financial Aid determines the amount and quantity of scholarships, and students at NDSU and UND are not eligible.
Primary criteria include a GPA of at least 3.0 and an applicable area of study. The Office of Financial Aid can provide the application, and that application and at least one letter of recommendation from a faculty member should be submitted to that same office.
Janet Monroe Wendschlag & Bryan John Wendschlag Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship was created to memorialize a woman and her son who perished in an airliner crash in Sioux City, IA in 1989.
The family has established the scholarship to benefit a junior or senior who plans to pursue a college degree in art, music, or elementary education.
The successful recipient will have graduated from a high school in North Dakota and be a North Dakota resident. The value depends on the earnings of the interest in the fund. Apply for this scholarship by logging in to scholarship.com.
ACS Cancer Survivor College Scholarship
The American Cancer Society established this scholarship for young cancer survivors. Applicants must not be older than 25, and must have been diagnosed with cancer prior to age 21. They must be graduating high school in this coming year, or continuing college.
Residents of several states, including North Dakota, are eligible to apply. There is not a restriction on which institution of higher learning the student plans to attend, as long as it is accredited, but there is a minimum GPA of 2.5.
The scholarship is for $2500, but may be renewed for up to $10,000 over four years. Contact the American Cancer Society to apply.
North Dakota Robert C. Byrd Scholarship
This merit scholarship is based on outstanding academic achievement. Students with an ACT score of at least 30 are the only applicants considered. Leadership, community service, and co-curricular activities are also a factor. Selected scholars will receive a scholarship for $1500, renewable for up to four years, for a maximum of $10,000. The award may be used at the student's North Dakota college of choice.
At least one recipient is selected from each of the Governor's Eight Planning Regions. For application materials, see your high school counselor.
Applications are due between February and April, and must be submitted to the Department of Public Instruction.
Loan Forgiveness and Repayment ProgramsIs college a thing of the past? It may not be too late to get a grant to pay for some of that hard-earned education.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Occupations Student Loan Program(STEM)
Grants of up to $1500 per year are applied as repayment toward the student loans of people trained in these specific fields, and staying and working in North Dakota in a technical field. There is a cap of $6000, but that will surely make a big dent in a student's loan balance.
Candidates must graduate from a technology program and be employed for at least one year in a technical field in order to qualify. Successful candidates will have earned a 2.5 GPA or higher, and their loan must have been granted from the Bank of North Dakota or another participating lender.
For more specific information and application materials, visit the North Dakota University System website (ndus.edu).
Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program
North Dakota has identified some curriculum areas, grade levels, and geographical locations that have definite teacher shortages.
Teachers who are hired for a position in one of the pre-identified shortage areas may qualify for grants up to $3000 to be applied to their student loan payment. It is necessary to work for public schools in North Dakota for a pre-determined amount of time (usually about three years).
The monies depend on the appropriations of the North Dakota State Legislature, so there is not a guarantee that teachers will actually receive the funds. For more details and application materials, visit the North Dakota University System website (ndus.edu).