In today’s economy, the tough job market almost mandates that you possess a college education and is sending people scrambling in search of college grants. In a world where the Associate degree is now equal to a high school diploma, many prospective students are using every means at their disposal to get that secondary education under their belt. Here, we take a frank look at the many alternatives students are using to apply for and win various type of scholarships and college grants.
The best known and easiest grants for college by far to get are financed by the federal government and are called a Pell grant. It’s simple to apply for a Pell grant, and after completing the FAFSA application form, usually most the paperwork is done by the college itself on your behalf with very little work required on your part. The general conditions you must meet to qualify for a Pell grant are:
- Be a U.S. citizen or citizen of a U.S. protected territory
- Poses a valid social Security number
- For males aged 18 to 25, you must be registered with Selective Service
- Be free of criminal drug or moral aptitude convictions
- Meet financial needs criterion
- Enroll in a state approved institute of higher learning
For people who do not qualify for federal aid, there are alternative college grants available. Most colleges have in-house scholarships – which work pretty much the same way as college grants. Your college guidance counselor can walk you through the process.
Other forms of grants for college are occupation specific. There are massive shortages of educated, qualified personnel in several occupational specialties. Nursing and information technology are the top two occupations that have money available.
If you’re considering a nursing career, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is an excellent resource. They offer access to full scholarships and college grants to those who qualify. Another great resource is called a State Specific college grant, especially if you live in a state where the nursing shortage is at critical levels. Don’t forget that if you’re male and entering the nursing field, you’re classified as a minority student and there are special grants for college and other opportunities available for you.
Finally, don’t forget about private foundations and large corporations who offer scholarships and college grants that will help pay for some, and many times all of your secondary education. One of the most generous corporate entity is the soft drink giant Coca-Cola.
Some simple tips to remember when applying for college grants are:
- The biggest reason college grants applications are rejected is due to poor writing. Check your spelling, grammar and thesis statement of need.
- If your college grants application requires a photo, take the time and expense to have a new headshot taken: There are no second chances on first impressions.
- Communicate your enthusiasm for the subject you want to study very clearly.
In the workforce of tomorrow, a college education is very important. Take your time, talk to your college admissions officer or guidance counselor about the available grants for college and remember, there are many alternatives available in the sometimes confusing world of college grants.