Grants for At Risk Students

Making College Easier to Afford for the Less Fortunate

At risk students are those who are not prepared for success in school, or who do not receive enough support at home and in the classroom to let them benefit from education. The lack of preparation can be social, academic, and/or financial, and letting these students drop out is the simplest, but least economically desirable, approach. Disadvantaged students who leave the educational system without graduating tend to produce children who have the same lack of support and poor chance of success, perpetuating the cycle.

Consequently, there is a great deal of interest in finding ways to give at risk students the tools they need to improve. The three unmet needs (social, academic, and financial) often occur together, and sometimes providing financial aid for school helps the most strongly motivated disadvantaged students push forward without further personal assistance.

Support For High School Students

However, many at risk students with average levels of motivation need continual monitoring and encouragement, and there are numbers of studies and programs (for example, “Advising the At-Risk College Student”) detailing ways to help them move on through high school and college. For students who lack active parental involvement in their progress at school, some schools maintain a network of personnel employed for the purpose of supplying that necessary personal interest.

Start-up Grants For Early College High Schoolsstudents at risk grants

One example is the services provided by early-college high schools, which blend high school and college classes to give at risk students a quick and effective path to graduation from high school with college preparation, including credit for the college courses taken. These programs target students from low-income minority populations whose parents did not graduate from college, and they are achieving small miracles in terms of increased graduation rates.

Funding for one of these efforts, the Early College High School Initiative, comes from both local school districts and start-up grants from donors like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Grants For Youth Programs

Financially disadvantaged families are even less likely to have a parent available for child care after school, so one major goal of aid for younger students is occupying their free time safely and productively.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is a division of the U. S. Department of Justice charged with distributing funds to help young people stay out of trouble. There are a number of grants available to groups that present strong proposals for youth programs, such as the following:

  • Title II Formula Grants are given to states and local agencies for assistance like treatment and rehabilitation for young people already in the juvenile justice system.
  • National Mentoring Programs grants go to organizations that mentor young people in one of these three categories: at-risk, high-risk, or underserved population. Applicants must operate nationally, like the Big Brothers Big Sisters, and funding is handed out for both group and individual (one-on-one) mentoring efforts.
  • Tribal Youth Program Training and Technical Assistance grants pay for the same services as the Title II Formula Grants above, but benefit both federally recognized tribes and villages belonging to Alaska Natives.

After School Programs

There are a vast number of such grants supporting programs that offer skills training, help with homework, recreational activities, and contact with adults. Here are a few examples of how that type of grant aid is used:

  • 4-H Afterschool, an offshoot of the famous rural youth club 4-H, works with the national Cooperative Extension System to keep students occupied with projects providing education on science and health.
  • AT&T Aspire focuses on helping students do their best in high school, emerging prepared for either college or a career. AT&T’s employees provide mentoring services, and the company directs money to local groups through its Local High School Impact Initiative.
  • FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) started by sponsoring an annual robotics competition for high school students, which met with such enthusiasm three similar programs for younger age groups have since been created.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America offers not only after school but also summer programs that include supplemental education, performing and visual arts, athletics, and life skills training.

Grants For Students With Financial Difficulties

Most college grants are distributed based on either academic merit or financial need, so if finances are the only problem a student encounters that’s easily solved. The federal government offers aid to needy students though its Pell and FSEOG grant programs, most state governments have similar programs (for example, the Michigan Tuition Grant and the Oregon Opportunity Grant), and many individual colleges and universities also reserve special grants for low-income students.


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