Search for College Grants By Subject

Find Grants for College by Subject Matter

Grants, by definition, are monetary awards designed to get something specific accomplished.  College students benefit from general Federal Government grants, which help offset their higher education costs.  The Pell Grant program is a prolific financial aid source that has been tapped by countless students, but it isn’t the only door to knock on for grant money.

Some grants are specifically earmarked for particular student groups.  Minorities, soldiers, disabled individuals and other blocks of college students are lifted into higher education by grants designed to help them succeed in school.  As you piece together your college funding package, consider the things that make you unique – there might be grant money waiting for you.

Student-specific grants take a variety of personal characteristics into account, but another important source of financial aid is found in the myriad of subject-specific grants that apply to your academic major.  Consult with your school’s financial aid office, or with your departmental advisor, to uncover educational grants that support your area of study.

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Public and Private Grant Sponsors

There are exceptions, but grants from the government are usually open to the entire student population.  By all means, throw your hat in the ring for these awards, but don’t stop there.  Apply for subject-specific grants that have specific candidates (like you) in mind. But where do these grants come from? Common grant sources that issue subject-specific financial aid for college:

  • Federal, State and Local Government
  • Minority Advocacy Organizations
  • Individual Colleges and Universities
  • Corporations
  • Memorial Foundations
  • Professional Associations
  • Trade Unions
  • Private Philanthropic Organizations

Envision your dream job, then target companies, membership associations and other industry groups that relate to your field.  Many such organizations include educational grants in their philanthropic spending.  The companies you’ll be working for following graduation each have a vested interest in nurturing the next generation of industry professionals. Take advantage of their corporate generosity by scoring a subject-specific higher education grant.

Popular Subjects that Draw Big Grant Money

Whatever you choose to study, there are grant sponsors willing to help you earn your degree.  Some fields that draw widespread grant funding include:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Math
  • Nursing
  • Teaching
  • Arts

Grants for STEM Subjects

If you’re a student interested in science, math, engineering or technology: STEM subjects, there is a rich palette of financial aid available to support your degree pursuits within these forward-oriented fields.

  • Federal STEM Grants–Academic Competitiveness Grants and National SMART Grants are issued to compel students toward academic excellence in science and technology.  Academically talented high-school students with interests in science, math, technology and engineering are rewarded for maintaining rigorous scholastic standards as they move toward advanced degrees.
  • Professional organizations support engineers, scientists and other technology majors.  A specialized example is illustrated by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, which administers dozens of grants and scholarships for students showing promise in related fields.  The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association is another membership association that supports education majors who strive to teach STEM subjects.
  • Grants from Bell Labs and Lucent Technologies are typical of corporate-sponsored subject-specific grants.  An array of science, math, and engineering grants originate from companies dedicated to furthering the next generation of  technology inovators.  Research-heavy businesses court talented students through grants and scholarships that don’t require repayment.  Some corporate grants come with job-commitments attached, so make sure you know what you are signing up for when you accept grant money.  In exchange for college cash, some companies expect grant recipients to put their talents to work on the job.

Subject-Specific Grants for Women and Minorities

Grants are often written with multiple agendas in mind.  Funding higher-education for cash-strapped college kids is the primary concern of most grants, but the funds are also used to increase college access for under-represented groups.

Higher education requires representation from students from all walks of life, so the educational pursuits of women and ethnic minorities are aided by grants that draw them into specific professions.  Law student grants, business school subsidies, and journalism grants originate from individual colleges and private sector sources.

Underrepresented Students Fare Well with STEM Grants

Fields related to science, engineering, and mathematics are wide open for underrepresented students.  African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American students qualify for lucrative STEM grants for minorities. With help from subject-specific grants that embrace educational diversity, these populations fill valuable work roles in technology industries.  Valuable resources within this category include:

  • Math grants for minorities and women are initiated by private corporate sponsors and industry professional associations. Forward thinking students compete against only those who meet ethnic, gender and economic requirements.  As a result, you’ll be up against far fewer applicants than in the general grant pool.
  • Engineering diversity grants from key corporate sponsors like IBM and Google are competitive, but your ethnic heritage opens doors when you’re qualified.  Grant programs for minorities include cash awards, but many also provide value-added services like career counseling and academic assistance.

grants for college

Grants in High Need Fields Offset Shortages

Nursing and teaching professions are experiencing shortages in some parts of the United States. When fundamental employment roles are not being filled fast enough to keep pace with societal demands, grants are used to lure qualified candidates into high-need vocations.

Government grants, as well as funds from private sources aim to boost enrollment in these professional fields.  As a result, education and health care majors currently enjoy privileged access to targeted subject-specific grants.

Grants Buy Good Teachers

Government grant programs provide aid to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing teaching credentials and conducting advanced studies in the field of education.  For some, service commitments must be met in exchange for educational aid.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH) is a federal initiative implemented to help combat teacher shortages in low-income areas.  Qualified applicants are eligible for up to $4000 annually, to be applied to education expenses related to teaching degrees.  In exchange for the free money, students are required to teach in high-need areas following college.  Under the terms of the TEACH grant award, students who accept grant money have 8 years following graduation, in which to log four complete school years teaching in crisis schools.

Federally funded grants for teaching students are not the only subject-specific funds available to education majors.  States, cities and private enterprises also initiate grants designed to bolster the profession.  New York City Department of Education sponsors Teachers of Tomorrow.  The program serves the city’s highest need schools by recruiting teacher candidates and helping them pay for college.

Bright Horizons Family Solutions, an employer-sponsored child-care company, offers educational assistance for students pursuing degrees related to early childhood development. Competitive grants of $2500 each are awarded based on letters of recommendation, transcripts, and student-submitted essays.

Your home state might provide grant money for student teachers.  New York, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Maryland have tuition assistance programs in place for college students who choose education-related majors.  Some state programs mirror the federal TEACH grant, incorporating service-for-tuition agreements into their terms.

As in STEM areas, teaching students from diverse backgrounds qualify for special targeted aid that is designed to uplift unique student groups.  If you are culturally distinct, or fit into another unique student population, diversity grants provide another funding resource.  NAACP, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and other advocacy organizations originate grants for teaching students.

Nursing and Health Care Grants Help to Offset Industry Shortages

Critical shortages exist in nursing and other health care professions. Subject-specific nursing grants boost the profession by providing disadvantaged nursing school candidates with flexible college funding solutions.  Like teacher grants, nursing awards sometimes require service commitments.

The Federal Government sponsors several financial aid programs for nursing students through the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services.  The Nursing Scholarship Program, Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students and Federal Nursing School Loan Repayment Program each address college financing shortfalls among nursing school candidates.

Nursing grant subsidies, tuition waivers and loan repayment arrangements originate from states too.  In fact, the nursing shortage is so widespread that about two-thirds of states offer grant assistance to nursing students. State programs sometimes include binding features that require grant recipients to work in underserved state hospitals and critical shortage facilities, in exchange for tuition assistance.

Professional nursing associations attached to each specialty, such as the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and the Emergency Nurses Association provide need-based grants for student members.

Grants for medical study, physical therapy, and occupational therapy recruit diverse students into specialty areas that are underserved in many regions.

How to Find Arts Grants

Art grants include aid for students pursuing degrees in art studio, graphic arts, performing arts, and even art history. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) provides national funding through educational assistance and other direct aid programs. Other good sources for art grants include:

  • College and university art departments
  • Private donors
  • Endowments and memorial foundations
  • State resources

The U.S. Department of State administers Fulbright Grants for educating students showing promise in artistic disciplines.

Stanford University administers generous fine arts grants through its SiCa Spark! Program and the Student Arts Grant Board Creativity Fund. Qualifying students receive funding for extracurricular pursuits in architecture, design, creative writing, film, dance and visual arts.

University of Michigan dispoenses Mini-Grants to help artists and other creative college students.  $1000 cash windfalls are placed into the educational coffers of deserving art students.

Student financial aid is awarded for many reasons, not the least of which is need.  Pair your financial need with other individual characteristics, like your academic major, to unlock grants for college.  Subject-specific grants support a wide range of professions, and may be your best path to college funding.


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