Guide Tribal Colleges and Scholarships for Native Americans

In the United States, Only 17% of the Native American student population continues their education after high school. Further, Native American students make up only 1% of the undergraduate population. The Postsecondary National Policy Institute states even fewer go to grad school. Financial challenges often contribute to this problem. Financial aid, like scholarships and grants, as well as Tribal colleges for Native American students may help more make their way to college. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.

Scholarships for Native American Students

Scholarships offer money for college that typically does not need repayment. Many scholarships for Native Americans are specific to their ethnicity. They may come from schools, but also from businesses and non-profit organizations. Some Native American scholarships to consider include:

  • Truman D. Picard Scholarship. Members of any recognized tribe who are undergraduate students studying natural resources may apply. The deadline for the $2,500 annual award is March 1, 2021.
  • United South & Eastern Tribes. Each year the USET Education Committee awards money to successful applicants of one of the 30 USET Member Tribal Nations. The deadline is January 15. Students need a satisfactory GPA and must be enrolled or accepted to a college degree program.
  • Zuni Tribal Scholarship. The Zuni Tribal Scholarship is available to American Indian students from the Zuni Tribe. The award amount varies, and students must be enrolled in college. The deadline is October 30, and the award needs yearly renewal.
  • Full Circle Scholarship Fund. This scholarship comes from the American Indian College Fund. The award amount typically varies, and applications are due May 31. Students must have a 2.0 GPA.
  • Catching the Dream Program. This program typically offers three different scholarship opportunities to Native American high school seniors. High GPAs are necessary. The award amount varies and the application deadline is September 15. Priority goes to those pursuing STEM topics.
  • Chickasaw Nation Scholarship Program. Any student who is a Chickasaw Nation member and who takes three or more credit hours a semester with a 3.0 GPA may receive this award. The award amount varies based on enrollment status and GPA. Application deadlines are February 15, July 1, and September 15.
  • Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship. Members of federally recognized tribes may apply for this scholarship. It provides up to $5,000 per year and requires a GPA of 2.7 or higher. The application deadline is early June.
  • Indian Health Services Scholarship. American Indian and Alaska Native health students may apply for this scholarship. Award amount varies, but the application typically requires an essay and strong academic performance. Applications are usually accepted in the winter each year.
  • Daughters of the American Revolution American Indian Scholarship. Applications for this scholarship typically open in November. It is a one-time $4,000 scholarship. To be eligible for this scholarship, students must be Native Americans from any tribe and must maintain a 3.25 GPA or higher.
  • Association on American Indian Affairs Scholarships. This association typically offers scholarships for Native Americans who are full-time students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The application deadline is May 31. The award amount varies.
  • Gates Millennium Scholars Program. Native Americans are generally included in the minority students offered this scholarship. Students may need to pursue fields where their ethnic groups have low numbers. The award amount and application deadline vary.
  • American Indian Education Fund Scholarship. This award is typically offered to those with tribal enrollment for themselves or their parents. The award is up to $2,000 per year. The deadline is early April.
  • REDW Scholarship. This award is typically available to undergrad or grad students who are tribal members or have at least ¼ degree Indian blood. It is merit-based and scholarship amounts vary. The deadline is June 1.
  • Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars, Inc., National American Scholarship. Enrolled tribal members who take at least 8 semester hours and maintain a 3.0 average may apply for this $5,000 renewable award. Applications are due June 15.
  • Gates Post Graduate Scholarship. This prestigious award typically gives $5,000 to $30,000 per year for students in post-graduate training in STEM. Applicants must apply by June 1 and must pursue STEM fields.

Grants for Native American Students

In addition to scholarships for Native Americans, many may apply for grants. Grants are similar to scholarships and generally do not need to be repaid. They typically have a requirement for financial need in addition to GPA and native status. Some to consider include:

  • Bureau of Indian Education Grant Program. The BIE has a grant program for Native Americans who are at least ¼ Indian blood. Students must be accepted or enrolled in a college program for an associate or four-year bachelor’s degree. They also must have clear financial need, often shown through the FAFSA. Blindness or vision loss
  • The Tyonek Native Corporation Scholarship and Grant Fund. This grant is typically available for Alaskan natives to reimburse students for necessities, like books or school supplies, they need for their college education.
  • Blackfeet Nation Higher Education Grant. This grant typically awards members of the Blackfeet Tribe between $2,800 and $3,000 to use toward their undergraduate training. Applications may require proven financial need and an essay.
  • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Higher Education Grant. This grant usually gives up to $2,200 per academic year for full-time students who are members of the tribe. The tribe may also offer an adult vocational training grant for the same amount.
  • Indian Higher Education Grant Program. This federal grant program offers help for Native American students with a proven financial need.

Native American Fellowships

A fellowship typically awards a student money for college in return for service or work in a specific field. Students may need to get a job in a specific area or spend time volunteering in return for their funds. Some Native American fellowships to consider include:

  • American Indian Graduate Center Fellowship Program. This program usually awards between $500 and $5,000 to students pursuing graduate degrees in specific fields. This grant application is due June 1.
  • Frances C. Allen Fellowship for Women of American Indian Heritage. This fellowship is offered through The Newberry, an independent Chicago research library. Applications are due December 15, and students must be studying a field of interest to the library’s collections.
  • Native American Residency Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center. This fellowship generally provides a one-month residency, including room and board, a studio, and $500 for travel, for Native American visual artists who wish to study at the Vermont Studio Center. Applications are due February 15.
  • Smithsonian Native American Awards Program. The Smithsonian typically offers this fellowship to applicants who may formally or informally be affiliated with the Native American community. It generally offers a $175 per day stipend for a research project in Native American concerns for up to 21 days. Deadlines are February 1 for summer and fall semesters and October 1 for spring semesters.
  • Native American Health Fellowship. The National Congress of American Indians typically offers this fellowship to Native American students who are pursuing health professions. The award tends to be used for grad studies or professional development, with a focus on promoting tribal health policies.
  • AISES Scholarships. The AISES typically partners with several businesses and non profits to provide STEM scholarships to Native American students. Scholarship amounts and deadlines vary based on the program chosen.

Financial Aid for Native American Students

Many different types of financial assistance may be available to Native American students. Getting sufficient help paying for school requires that students understand all of these options. It also requires following the correct steps to apply for aid. Here’s what a student should do to get help paying for school.

Determine Your Status as a Native American

Not everyone who has Native American heritage qualifies for these scholarships. You typically must be an enrolled member of a recognized Native American Indian tribe or an Alaskan Native group to qualify. Another option may be to apply using what is called “blood quantum.” This means the student is at least ¼ Native American. Typically this is because one grandparent is full-blooded Native American. Students who need to prove their ancestry could use the US Dept. of the Interior’s Trace Indian Ancestry page to search their heritage. They may then apply to their tribe to enroll as a tribal member.

Complete the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) establishes a student’s financial need and eligibility for federal programs, like the Pell grant. Many Native American aid programs require proven financial aid. Completing the FAFSA is the first step in proving need.

Understand the Types of Financial Aid

In addition to scholarships, Native Americans typically have these main types of student aid offered to them. These are:

  • Scholarships. Scholarships for Native Americans are awarded based on merit or ethnic status and usually do not have to be paid back.
  • Grants. Grants also typically do not get paid back. They are often based on financial need.
  • Fellowships. Fellowships pay students for work in a field specific to the group’s goals and needs.
  • Loans. Loans provide money for school that must be repaid, with interest, after graduation.
  • Work-Study. Work-study programs provide money for school in exchange for work at the college.

Check Out Other Sources for Financial Aid

While Native American students may have several financial aid options specific to them, there are other options too. Native American students should look for scholarship and grant options that does not use race or tribal status as a criterion. Scholarships and grants that look at a student’s grades, community service, and other activities could help cover the cost of school.

Challenges Native American College Students Face

Access to college and challenges with the cost of school both impact the native populations.

What are the biggest hurdles that are unique to Native American students when trying to gain admission into school?

Some of the challenges Native Americans face prevent them from getting into college. The cost of college, or the perception about that cost, is typically one hurdle. Sometimes the college admissions process is too complex for students to tackle on their own, and not having parents that went through the process may make this harder. In addition, reservation-based schools tend to have high staff turnover. Without strong relationships with guidance counselors and teachers, students may be less likely to find the perfect college or feel the importance of a college education.

What are some of the biggest challenges once these students are in school?

Many Native American students are likely to overcome these challenges and make it to school, only to find a new set of concerns. Many students find themselves on campuses with few Native students, creating a disconnect between their native culture and their new college community. Often, non-native students and teachers may not understand the cultural traditions of Native American students. If students need to miss class for cultural events, they may suffer socially or academically. Many Native students head to school as older adults. This tends to make finding appropriate, affordable housing difficult. Finally, many Native students may not be prepared well for the challenges of college life. They may feel overwhelmed with the new culture and academic courses.

American Indian College Fund

The American Indian College Fund invests in the education of Native and tribal students. This is the largest charity for this group in the nation. They typically have scholarships for Native American students, but they may also have programming that connects students to the support they need to succeed in college and beyond. Of all the resources available, this is usually one of the most helpful for new Native American college students.

Support Organizations for Native American Students

Support organizations both on campus and off provide could help to get students over these hurdles. Students could reach out to these groups to receive support and find opportunities for advancement. Some of these groups include:

  • AICF. The American Indian College Fund is one of the most important and comprehensive support groups for native students.
  • AIHEC. The American Indian Higher Education Consortium provides a network of support to sunbonnets while also working hard to change federal policies so they better support Native students.
  • AIS. American Indian Services is a non profit group that creates programs and funding for Native Americans. The goal is to help them earn a quality education while maintaining their own heritage and culture.
  • AISES. American Indian Science and Engineering Society provides support for Native Americans who are pursuing education and careers in STEM areas.
  • PWNA. Partnership with Native Americans provides help and hope for those living on isolated or remote reservations. It gives aid to help improve the economic situation of these people.

What are Tribal Colleges?

Tribal colleges and universities are higher learning schools run by tribal leaders. This is a newer idea and an attempt to deal with some of the challenges Native students face.

How Could Tribal Colleges Help?

Tribal colleges typically assist students because they understand the traditions and cultures of their tribe or native group. This means students generally do not face conflicts between their education and their culture or beliefs.

Why are Tribal Colleges Important?

Tribal college sometimes provides the only college opportunity for local native populations. They are typically located close to the people who need them, sometimes even on the reservation, and have lower cost tuition. This all combines to likely make college more accessible for Native students.

List of Tribal Colleges

There are currently over 30 tribal schools throughout the United States. Many cater to the unique cultures of a specific tribal group, but all welcome Native and non-Native people. As long as students are wiling to embrace tribal culture, they may attend one of these schools:

Ilisagvik College

100 Stevenson St. | Barrow, AK 99723
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This tribal school typically serves the people of the North Slope Borough, which includes many who are part of the Inupiaq culture. It usually offers degrees in health, accounting, adult education, business, construction, emergency services, heavy equipment, info tech, liberal arts, office management, industrial safety, and Inupiaq cultural studies. Degree examples include:

  • Dental Therapy (AAS)
  • Inupiaq Studies (AAS)
  • Business and Management (AAS)
  • Allied Health (AS)

School Details:

  • Dual Credit program
  • NWCCU Accredited


  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Inupiaq

Dine College

One Circle Dr. Route 12 | Tsaile, AZ 86556
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This was the nation’s first tribal-controlled, accredited institution. It typically offers a range of general ed programs in arts, humanities, English, education, STEM, business, social science and Dine studies. Degree programs may include:

  • Public Health (BS)
  • Dine Studies (BA)
  • Business Admin (BA)
  • Elementary Ed (BA)

School Details:

  • Dual Credit program
  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium


  • American Indian College Fund Student of the Year Award

Tribal Groups

  • Navajo Nation

Tohono O’odham Community College

Hwy 86 | Sells, AZ 85634
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This college sits on the 2.8 million acre Tohono O’odham reservation along the Mexico border. It typically offers degrees in the arts, business, science, health, education and social services, as well as several technical trades. Courses of study may include:

  • Business Admin (AB)
  • Life Science (AA)
  • Social Work (AA)
  • Tohono O’odham Studies (AA)
  • School Details:
  • Transfer programs to four-year schools
  • Direct Employment Programs
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • Gewkdag Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Tohono O’odham

Haskell Indian Nations University

155 Indian Ave. | Lawrence, KS 66046
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HINU is the country’s top tribal university with a 120 year history. It tends to have a wide range of degree programs including American Indian studies, business admin, elementary education, environmental science, and others. Degree programs may include:

  • Indigenous and American Indian Studies (BA)
  • Elementary Ed (BS)
  • Business Admin (BS)
  • Environmental Science (BS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • NCATE Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Multiple tribes

Bay Mills Community College

12214 W Lakeshore Dr. | Brimley, MI 49715
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BMCC provides degrees for those in the Anishinaabek culture. Degree options typically include business admin, early childhood ed, construction, Ojibwe language instruction, criminal justice and computers. Degrees may include:

  • Computer Info Systems (AAS)
  • Paramedic (AAS)
  • Criminal Justice (AA)
  • Great Lakes Native Studies (AA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • Online ed options
  • Scholarships:
  • Board of Regents Tuition Award
  • Herman E. Cameron Memorial Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa

Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College

111 Bear Town Rd. | Baraga, MI 49908
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KBOCC is on the L’asnse reservation. It typically offers associated degrees in a range of fields, including Anishinaabe studies, business, environmental studies, and early childhood ed. Degrees may include:

  • Anishinaabe Studies (AA)
  • Business Admin (AS)
  • Early Childhood Ed (AS)
  • Liberal Studies (AA)
  • School Details:
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Ojibwa
  • Chippewa

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College

2274 Enterprise Dr. | Mount Pleasant, MI 48858
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This public college tends to reflect the culture and value of the Anishinaabe. It is a family-focused campus and typically has small class sizes. The programs include Native studies, business, science, and liberal arts. Degree programs may include:

  • Native American Studies (AA)
  • Business (AA)
  • General Science (AS)
  • Liberal Arts (AA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • SCTC Board of Regents’ Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

2101 14th St. | Cloquet, MN 55720
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This school offers two and four year degree programs for students from the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and other tribal groups. Degrees are typically available in elementary ed, business, corrections, geospatial tech, nursing, and nutrition. Degrees typically include:

  • American Indian Studies (AA)
  • Elementary Ed (AS)
  • Corrections (AS)
  • Nursing (AS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium
  • Scholarships:
  • Foundation Scholarships

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa

Leech Lake Tribal College

6945 Little Wolf Rd. | Cass Lake, MN 56633
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Leech Lake Tribal College typically serves the Ojibwe community with degrees in the arts, humanities, tech, and natural sciences. The school offers many family friendly solutions, with a focus on the Anishinaabe values. Degree programs may include:

  • Liberal Education (AA)
  • Earth Systems Science (AS)
  • Business Management (AAS)
  • Early Childhood Development (AA)
  • School Details:
  • Named best Com. College in Nation by Wallet Hub in 2017
  • HLC Accredited
  • The American Indian Science and Engineering Society member
  • Scholarships:
  • LeRoy Staples Sr. and LeRoy B. Fairbanks Scholarship
  • Susan Helen Tibbetts Sjolund Scholarship
  • Clem Nason Memorial Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Ojibwe

Red Lake Nation College

23750 MN-1 | Red Lake, MN 56671
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This school provides Ojibwe language and cultural education. It typically focuses on two year degree programs that could transfer easily into four year schools. Many student services make it easier for students to attend. The school has two degree programs, which include:

  • Liberal Education (AA)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (AAS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Online ed options
  • Scholarships:
  • Presidential and Achievement scholarships

Tribal Groups

  • Red Lake Nation

White Earth Tribal and Community College

210 Main St. S | Mahnomen, MN 56557
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This school serves the White Earth Reservation and the communities surrounding it. It typically offers one associate degree program that provides a general education with a focus on core requirements. Many students transfer to a four year school after graduation.

  • Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences (AA)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited
  • Scholarships:
  • White Earth Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • MCT White Earth Band

Aaniiih Nakoda College

Hwy 2 and Hwy 66 | Harlem, MT 59526
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This school typically serves tribal and non-tribal members with a focus on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation area. It has degrees in environmental science, education, business, Native studies, health, and psychology. Degree programs may include:

  • Aaniih Nakoda Ecology (BS)
  • American Indian Studies (AA)
  • Business (AA)
  • Human Services (AA)
  • School Details:
  • NWCCU accreditation
  • USDA Extension Demonstration Farm
  • Scholarships:
  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Gros Ventre
  • Aaniiih
  • Nakota

Blackfeet Community College

504 SE Boundary St. | Browning, MT 59417
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BCC typically serves the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and surrounding communities with degrees in IT, business, education, health, humanities, STEM, and nursing. Childcare services make it possible for adults with families to attend. Degree programs usually include:

  • Accounting (AS)
  • Elementary Ed (AS)
  • Liberal Arts (AA)
  • Piikani Studies (AA)

  • School Details:

  • NWCCU accreditation
  • Online and hybrid courses

  • Scholarships:

  • First Time First Year Freshman Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Blackfeet

Chief Dull Knife College

One College Dr. | Lame Deer, MT 59043
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This tribal college typically provides degrees to members of the Northern Cheyenne reservation. The college is on the forefront of tribal language preserving efforts. Students may study the arts, political science, social science, STEM, business, paralegal, and Native studies. Programs are designed to transition students to four year degrees. Degree programs usually include:

  • Addiction Studies (AA)
  • AA Animal Science (AA)
  • Cheyenne Studies (AA)
  • Math (AS)

  • School Details:

  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • American Association of Community and Junior Colleges
  • NWCCU accreditation

  • Scholarships:

  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Cheyenne

Fort Peck Community College

PO Box 398 | Poplar, MT 59255
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This college has two campuses and several degree programs. Students may study degree programs or earn certs while preserving the culture of the Assiniboine and Sioux people from the Fort Peck Reservation. Some of the school’s degrees typically include:

  • Business Admin (AA)
  • Native American Studies (AA)
  • Bio Medical Science (AS)
  • Info Tech (AAS)

  • School Details:

  • NWCCU accreditation
  • World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium

  • Scholarships:

  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Assiniboine
  • Sioux

Little Big Horn College

8645 S Weaver Dr. | Crow Agency, MT 59022
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This school typically weaves the Crow culture into its training programs. It has a modern campus on the Crow Indian Reservation. Students may study a wide range of topics, including pre-nursing, info tech, Crow studies, ecology, and more. Degree programs likely include:

  • Business Admin (AA)
  • Crow Studies (AA)
  • Info Systems (AS)
  • Science (AS)

  • School Details:

  • NWCCU accreditation

  • Scholarships:

  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Crow

Salish Kootenai College

PO Box 70 58138 US Hwy 93 | Pablo, MT 59855
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SKC reaches the people of the Flathead Nation. It generally provides a range of degree programs spanning everything from psych to construction. Student clubs and on campus housing make education attainable for students. Degrees typically include:

  • Business Admin (BA)
  • Forestry (BS)
  • Tribal Historic Preservation (BA)
  • Psychology (BA)

  • School Details:

  • Dual Enrollment program
  • NWCCU accreditation

  • Scholarships:

  • CSKT Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Flathead Nation
  • Séliš
  • Ksanka
  • QÍispé

Stone Child College

8294 Upper Box Elder Rd. | Box Elder, MT 58521
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SCC is a tribal chartered college that typically focuses on preserving the Chippewa Cree culture and language. Students may study health, arts, Native culture, tech, education, human services, and business. A campus daycare and on campus room rental help may students succeed. Degrees typically include:

  • Elementary Education (BS)
  • Allied Health (AS)
  • Native American Studies (AA)
  • Human Services Rural Behavioral Health (AA)

  • School Details:

  • NWCCU accreditation
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium

  • Scholarships:

  • April Dawn Stamper Memorial Scholarship
  • Fine Arts Scholarship
  • William O. Goggins Journalism Award

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa Cree

Cankdeska Cikana Community College

213 1st Ave. | Ft Totten, ND 58335
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CCCC trains the people of the Spirit Lake Dakota Reservation. It typically has degrees in Dakota studies, social work, the arts, tech, health, and ed, with trade certs as well. Many cultural events keep students connected to their tribe. Degree programs usually include:

  • Dakota Studies (AA)
  • Social Work (AA)
  • Pre Nursing (AS)
  • Office Tech (AAS)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • North Dakota Association of Tribal Colleges

  • Scholarships:

  • Spirit Lake Tribal scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Dakota

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

220 8th Ave. N | New Town, ND 59763
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NHSC is chartered by the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Ft. Berthold Reservation. It typically offers training in Native studies, ed, business, social work, STEM, and equine studies. On campus childcare and student housing are available. Degrees usually include:

  • Env. Science (BS)
  • Native Studies (BS)
  • Addiction Studies (AA)
  • Equine Studies (AA)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited

  • Scholarships:

  • ITCHE Shikake Scholarship
  • Dakota Indian Scholarship
  • TAT Tribal Chairman’s Ed Grant

Tribal Groups

  • Mandan
  • Hidatsa
  • Arikara

Sitting Bull College

9299 Hwy 24 | Fort Yates, ND 58538
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This college is based on the Standing Rock Reservation, but also has sites in South Dakota. It typically offers academic, career, and tech ed, with bachelor’s and associate degree programs along with certs. It also has one master’s degree, making it one of the rare tribal schools to offer grad work. Degree options usually include:

  • Env. Science (MS)
  • Curriculum and Instruction (M.Ed)
  • Native American Studies (BA)
  • Social Work (BA)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited

  • Scholarships:

  • Barden Scholarship
  • Build Your Brighter Future Scholarship
  • Crazy Horse Memorial Scholarship
  • Dakota/Lakota Scholarship
  • Doyle Butler Memorial Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Lakota
  • Dakota
  • Sioux

Turtle Mountain Community College

10145 BIA Rd. 7 | Belcourt, ND 58316
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TMCC trains the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and sits on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa reservation. This commuter college typically offers bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certs. Degree programs may include:

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited
  • Dual Credit program

  • Scholarships:

  • Tribal Scholarship Program

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa

United Tribes Technical College

3315 University Dr. | Bismarck, ND 58504
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UTTC is a tech school focused on tribal education and cultural preservation. It typically offers associate degree options and certs. Degree programs might include:

  • Elementary Ed (AS)
  • Auto Tech (AS)
  • Human and Social Services (AA)
  • Graphic Design (AS)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited
  • Online degree options

  • Scholarships:

  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Mandan
  • Hidatsa
  • Arikara

Little Priest Tribal College

601 E College Dr. | Winnebago, NE 68071
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LPTC typically offers associate degrees in language and culture as well as education, liberal arts, and business. The campus is on the Winnebago Reservation and strives to prepare students to transfer to a four year school. Degrees likely include:

  • Native American Studies (AA)
  • Teacher Ed (AA)
  • Indigenous Science Environmental (AS)
  • Indigenous Science Health (AS)

  • School Details:

  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • HLC Accredited
  • Nebraska Transfer Initiative

  • Scholarships:

  • Winnebago Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program

Tribal Groups

  • Winnebago

Nebraska Indian Community College

College Hill | Macy, NE 68039
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This tribal school has three campuses and has both associate degrees and certs. Students may use their degrees to pursue entry level positions or to transfer to a four year program. Degree options include:

  • Carpentry (AAS)
  • Native American Studies (AA)
  • Para Educator (AA)
  • Business (AA)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium

  • Scholarships:

  • High School Grad Success Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Omaha
  • Santee Sioux

Institute of American Indian Arts

83 Avan Nu Po Rd. | Santa Fe, NM 87508
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This is the only tribal college that is a four year fine arts institution. It typically serves all Native people, including Alaska Natives, and focuses on the Native arts. It has certs, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees, and all are in the arts. Degree programs may include:

  • Cinema and Tech (BFA)
  • Creative Writing (MFA)
  • Museum Studies (BFA)
  • Studio Arts (BFA)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited
  • IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
  • Dual Credit programs

  • Scholarships:

  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Serves all Native people

Navajo Technical University

Lowerpoint Rd. | Crownpoint, MN 87313
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NTU typicaly follows the Dine Philosophy of Education. It has a campus in Arizona as well as Crownpoint. It has master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, associates degrees, and certs, including several in the Dine language. Students may study education, health, veterinary science, energy, IT, business, and Native culture. Programs include:

  • Dine Culture, Language, and Leadership (MA)
  • BAS Hotel and Restaurant Admin (BAS)
  • Animal Science (BS)
  • Env. Science and Natural Resources (BS)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited
  • ABET accredited

  • Scholarships:

  • PNM Scholarship
  • Tom Davis Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Navajo

Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

9169 Coors NW | Albuquerque, NM 87184
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This school typically focuses on STEM opportunities for Native learners. It has certs and associate degree programs in tech and computers. It also has degrees in business. Programs may include:

  • Culinary Arts (AAS)
  • Vision Care Tech (AAS)
  • Geo Spatial Info Tech (AAS)
  • Pre Engineering (AS)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • Online degree options

  • Scholarships:

  • The Johnson Scholarship
  • SIPI New Student Scholar

Tribal Groups

  • All tribal groups served

College of the Muscogee Nation

1200 Hwy Loop 56 | Okmulgee, OK 74447
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This college typically offers general ed and tribal programming. Associate degrees and certs are both available, many in the Mvskoke language. Degree options may include:

  • Native American Studies (AS)
  • Tribal Services (AS)
  • Criminal Justice (AAS)
  • Gaming (AAS)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited

  • Scholarships:

  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation Scholarship Foundation

Tribal Groups

  • Muscogee (Creek)

Sinte Gleska University

101 Antelope Lake Circle | Mission, SD 57555
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This college typically offers master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certs in the arts, education, computers, human services, and Native history and culture. Degree usually programs include:

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited

  • Scholarships:

  • American Indian College Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Sicangu Lakota
  • Sioux

Sisseton Wahpeton College

BIA Rd. 700 Agency Village | Sisseton, SD 57262
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SWC serves members of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation. It typically has associate degrees and certs in a range of fields, including business, finance, ed, and Dakota studies. Degree programs include:

  • Addiction and Diversity Counseling (AS)
  • Sustainable Env. Studies (AS)
  • Carpentry Tech (AAS)
  • Dakota Studies (AA)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited
  • Articulation Agreements
  • Online degrees offered

  • Scholarships:

  • N/A

Tribal Groups

  • Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux

Oglala Lakota College

3 Mile Creek Rd. | Kyle, SD 57752
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OLC serves the Pine Ridge Reservation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. It typically has master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certs, with a focus on Lakota language and culture. Students may study health, IT, business, ed, construction, STEM, and Native studies. Degree programs likely include:

  • Lakota Studies (BA)
  • Lakota Leadership and Management (MA)
  • K 12 Lakota Studies Education (BS)
  • Social Work (BSW)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • Online degree options

  • Scholarships:

  • Board of Trustees Supplemental Scholarship
  • Johnson Entrepreneurship Scholarship

Tribal Groups

  • Lakota
  • Oglala Sioux

Northwest Indian College

2522 Kwina Rd. | Bellingham, WA 98226
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NIC is part of the Lummi reservation and typically focuses on protecting tribal values. Students can earn bachelor’s degrees, associates degrees, and certs in Native studies, tribal government, business, human services, and IT. Programs usually include:

  • Native Studies Leadership (BA)
  • Community Advocacy and Community Ed in Human Services (BA)
  • Native Env. Science (BA)
  • Tribal Gov. and Business Management (BA)

  • School Details:

  • NWCCU accreditation

  • Scholarships:

  • American Indian Entrepreneurship Scholarship (NWIC)
  • Foundation Scholarships (NWIC)
  • S-STEM Scholarship (NWIC)

Tribal Groups

  • Lummi

College of Menominee Nation

N 172 Hwy 47/55 | Keshena, WI 54135
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CMN is on the Menominee Reservation with a campus in Green Bay. This school typically has bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certs. Students may study education, nursing, Native studies, business, and STEM. Programs include:

  • Public Admin (BA)
  • Business Admin(BS)
  • Natural Resources (AAS)
  • Substance Abuse (AAS)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited

  • Scholarships:

  • CMN Privately Funded Scholarships

Tribal Groups

  • Menominee Nation

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College

13466 W Trepania Rd. | Hayward, WI 54843
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Programs typically include:

  • Native American Studies (AAS)
  • Accounting (AAS)
  • Business (AS)
  • Nursing (AS)

  • School Details:

  • HLC Accredited

  • Scholarships:

  • La Courte Orielles Ojibwe College Student Scholarship Fund
  • Johnson Scholarship Foundation Scholarship
  • Gay I. & Harry C. Leslie III Fund
  • Isham Chase Scholarship Fund

Tribal Groups

  • Chippewa

Guide Schools & Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Overcoming learning hurdles, physical difference, hearing loss, or vision loss may make daily life challenging. More so, going to college may be more difficult for those with disabilities. Thankfully, students have many support options to consider that could help them with college and its costs, like scholarships, even when dealing with a disability.

Rights of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities have many legally protected rights. While many know that these apply to discrimination at work and getting services in elementary and high school, not all know that they also apply to college students. Consider these acts. 

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This act states that schools that receive federal funds may not discriminate because of disability. This is found in Section 504, the same section where students get the right to make 504 Plans in their elementary and high school years. If a school accepts federal grants, then it is responsible to follow this rule.

Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA’s Title II protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination from state and local gov’ts (including public colleges and universities). Title III requires that public places, including schools, provide accommodations to disabled people, such as making the space wheelchair accessible. This provides protection in private schools that are not subject to Title II. 

Does Your Condition Qualify? 

Many disabilities may qualify under Section 504 or the ADA. However, not all do. The ADA defines a disability as “as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” The Rehab Act defines it as “has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.” The act further explains that this can include loss of a body part, neurological conditions, mental and psych disorders, and even endocrine disorders.

So does your disability qualify? Here is a list of disabilities that may be protected by one or both of these laws. It may not be exhaustive, so students may wish to talk to a disability rights advocate to determine if they have protection:

  • Deafness or hearing loss 
  • Blindness or vision loss 
  • Medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, HIV infection, or epilepsy 
  • Autism 
  • Dyslexia, ADHD and other learning disabilities 
  • Intellectual disabilities 
  • Missing limbs 
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Muscular dystrophy 
  • Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychological conditions 
  • PTSD 
  • Mobility problems 
  • OCD 
  • Cerebral palsy 
  • Tourette’s Syndrome and other neurological disorders

Telling the School About Your Disability

To receive help from your school, you may need to disclose your disability. To receive financial aid for your disability, you may need documentation. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. Here are some helpful tips: 

Discuss Your Need with the Admissions Professional

Start by telling your admissions counselor about your disability and the accommodations you may need. They may direct you to the right people at the school to help.

Submit Medical Documentation

Ask your doctor for documents showing your disability. You may be required to submit this to the school and any scholarships you apply for.

Submit High School Plans for Services

If you had an IEP or Section 504 plan in high school, you may need to submit this as well. It may not replace your proof of disability, but it may show the school the assistance you may need.

Ask for Help Early

Ask for this assistance and submit the documents early in your application process. This could give the school time to consider and assess accommodations you may need. It also gives you time to get more documents if needed.

Distance Learning with a Disability

Students with special needs may often benefit from distance learning options. These could give you the chance to take classes at home via a computer, so you may take breaks or plan your schedule if you need to. Students do not have to worry about physical accommodation on campus or the challenge of travel with a disability. Having a flexible learning platform also helps. Distance learning may have some challenges for students with special needs. Schools might not always quick to assist online students. Distance learning platforms are not always created to be disability friendly. To help, schools need to make sure they use tech that works with assistive devices, like readers for visually impaired students or closed captioning for hearing impaired students.

Helpful Accessibility Apps

Some apps can help make it easier for students with unique needs to pursue their education. Consider these:

  • Speak It! This text to speech app lets non-verbal students type words the app speaks for them. 
  • Dragon Anywhere. This app helps students who struggle to write. It translates spoken words into written text. 
  • Talking Calculator. This app turns the phone into a talking calculator, which works great for visually impaired students. 
  • Voice Dream Reader. This tool scans text and reads it to the student, which helps students with reading and vision challenges. 
  • Petralex. This app amplifies sound for hearing impaired individuals. 

Federal Disability Benefits That Could Help Pay for College

Students who receive Social Security Disability benefits may continue to receive them while in school. However, SSDI is delivered to people whose disabilities make it impossible to work. The Social Security Administration may deem a college student who can go to class can also get a job. Students who still live at home and attend college full time may still qualify, but others may not. If you receive SSDI, you can use the payment to pay for anything, including college expenses.

The Importance of Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities

Having a disability may make life more costly. Doctor’s appointments and the need for assistance devices adds to your daily living costs. Financial aid could help students with disabilities and help you overcome these challenges and pursue your education. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.

Getting Help with Your Scholarship and Financial Aid Form

Students who need help filling out their scholarship applications, FAFSA, and other financial aid forms should contact the financial aid office at their school or the guidance counselor at their high school. These professionals can provide needed assistance.

Other Financial Aid Options for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities may apply to all types of federal student aid to help with their higher education costs. Federal student loans and grants through the U.S. Department of Education could provide needed support to qualified students. Some options include:

Additional Resources

Students with disabilities who need additional help with school or want more info about potential scholarships should contact these groups.

  • American Association of People with Disabilities. AAPD has a wealth of resources for disabled students. They have advocates who argue for disability rights and support networks for people with disabilities. Students can take part in summer internships. 
  • Easter Seals. Easter seals help adults and students with disabilities find services. They can also assist with getting students properly diagnosed. 
  • The Arc. The Arc serves people and families touched by intellectual and developmental disabilities, including 100 different diagnoses. This advocacy group provides employment programs and education support. 
  • Special Needs Alliance. This network of attorneys provides help for students and adults with a documented disability who need to understand their rights under the law. 
  • Comprehensive Transition Programs. These programs give students with intellectual disabilities help with the entire college process, from admissions to coursework. This is a federally funded program that students apply for through the participating school. 
  • National Center for Learning Disabilities. The NCLD provides help, support, and funding for people living with learning disabilities.

Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

If your disability qualifies for financial aid programs, there are a number of scholarships for students with disabilities to consider to help you pursue your career goals. These scholarship opportunities are a good place to start for financial assistance.

Attention Deficit Disorder

  • Rise Scholarship Foundation Inc. This scholarship awards $2,500 to students with ADHD or ADD along with one additional learning disability. It is an annual award and requires a 2.5 grade point average. The application deadline is Feb. 15. 
  • Anne Ford Scholarship. This award is $2,500 per academic year for four years. The scholarship is offered to qualified high school senior students with ADHD or another documented learning disability. They must be enrolled in a full time, four year degree program at an accredited school. The deadline is usually in the fall.

Autism Spectrum

  • Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship for Autism. In 2013 an autistic boy went missing. In his honor, a law firm, The Perecman Firm, opened a $1,000 annual scholarship for autistic individuals or the family member of someone with autism. The deadline is July 31. 
  • Kelly Law Team Autism Scholarship. Anyone with autism can apply for one of two $1,000 awards form this firm. Applicants submit an essay about how they would use the benefit. The essay with the many online votes gets the award. Essays are due June 30. 
  • Making a Difference for Autism. High school students and college students with autism can apply for this $500 scholarship. It is awarded multiple times a year. Applications are due April 26, and students can apply more than once. 
  • Organization for Autism Research. This $3,000 award is available to students on the spectrum. They must be full time students. The deadline is early May. 
  • Dan Archwamety Scholarship. This program awards $500 to students with ASD. It requires the student to use the money for an accredited college degree or certificate program. The deadline is early April.

General Disabilities

  • INCIGHT Scholarship. The INCIGHT College Scholarship is offered to qualified students in WA, OR, or CA who have any ADA, IDEA, or DSM-V defined or protected disability. Students must complete 30 hours of community service to maintain their award. 
  • AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability. This scholarship is for a student with a disability who is pursuing an undergrad program full time or grad degree full or part time. Students must currently be attending college as at least a sophomore. The award is $1,000. 
  • AbbVie Immunology Scholarship. This group awards up to $15,000 to students living with inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. The deadline to apply is early December. 
  • Student Award Program of the Foundation for Science and Disability. This award of $1,000 is given to fourth year undergrad students or graduate students. Students must be studying STEM or computer science and must have a disability to apply. 
  • John Lepping Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is for students with disabilities. It requires an essay about the student’s disability and its financial impact on the family. Students must reside in New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. The award is up to $5,000. 
  • BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Scholarship. This $10,000 education scholarship is merit based and open to students with all types of disabilities. Students must be pursuing four year degree programs in computer science, business, or a STEM related field.

Hearing Impairment

Learning and Cognitive Disabilities

  • P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education. This award is for students with language related learning disabilities who wish to pursue college education in the arts. The $1,000 award is based on financial need.
  • Guthrie Koch Scholarship. This award is for students who have PKU and control it with a low protein diet. It is open to undergrad students.
  • Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarship. This scholarship fund awards $2,500 a year for two years to students attending community college with a learning disability. The deadline is in the fall.

Physical Disabilities

  • Scholarship. This $500 award goes to students who use wheelchairs or power chairs for mobility. The student must apply by May 30. No specific disability is required. 
  • Disabled Student Scholarship. This $500 award is offered to any student who has a debilitating condition and wishes to pursue education. A physician’s statement of the diagnosis is needed to apply.
  • Karman Healthcare Mobility Disability Scholarship. Students who use mobility devices due to their disability can apply for this award. They must write an essay and apply by Sept. 1. A GPA of 2.0 or higher is needed. The award is $500. 
  • Cystic Fibrosis Scholarship Foundation. CFSF awards are for students with CF. The award requires at least nine credit hours per semester and covers tuition, books, and board. The award is $1,000 a year.

Tourette’s Syndrome

  • Dollars 4 Tic Scholars. This program through the Kelsey D. Diamantis TS Scholarship Family Foundation awards at least one $1,000 award every year to a student with Tourette’s Syndrome. The program has two application deadlines each year, one in the fall and one in the spring. 
  • Kenny’s Dream Foundation. This scholarship provides up to $1,500 for college expenses for students with TS. Applicants must have a doctor’s diagnosis of the disorder.

Vision Loss and Blindness

  • Fred Scheigert Scholarship Program. The Fred Scheigert Scholarship Program awards $3,000 to three students with visual impairments. Students can apply between Jan. 1 and March 15. This is a highly competitive award and requires a phone interview. 
  • American Foundation for the Blind. AFB offers multiple scholarships for legally blind students ranging from $500 to $2,500.
  • National Federation of the Blind. This group has merit scholarships for blind students ranging from $3,000 to $12,000.
  • Lighthouse Guild. The Lighthouse Guild awards 17 students with blindness or low vision up to $10,000 to use for undergrad or graduate training. The award is based on academic merit.
  • American Council of the Blind Scholarship. ACB offers a scholarship program that awards between $2,000 to $7,500 for students who are legally blind. They must maintain a 3.0 average and be a full time student.

Schools for Students with Disabilities

While schools are required under the ADA to be accessible for people with disabilities, not all are as disability friendly as others. These are some schools to consider based on disability.

Attention Deficit Disorder

ADD/ADHD requires special tutoring and services, which can be found at these schools:

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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A robust disability services program makes SIU Carbondale perfect for students with ADD and ADHD. It has a robust list of majors, including bachelor’s, masters, and PhD degrees. Degree programs include:

School Details:

  • HLC Accredited 

Autism Spectrum

These schools embrace neuro diversity: 

Drexel University

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Drexel University offers a wide range of social skills services to students with autism. Its Disability Resources department strives to help disabled students have a positive college experience. The school has over 120 grad degree and cert programs and 80 undergrad degrees. Programs include: 

School Details:

  • MSCHE Accredited 
  • Online Degree Programs: BS, MS 

Daemen College

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Daemen College has a disability support service specifically for autistic students. This small, suburban school has a strong focus on the healthcare field. It has multiple majors, including these: 

  • Visual and Performing Arts (BA) 
  • Business Admin (BS) 
  • Social Work (BA) 
  • Health Promotion (BS)
  • School Details:
  • MSCHE Accredited 

Disability Programs

General Disabilities

The disability support at these schools aims to help students with varied disabilities: 

University of Arizona

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University of Arizona may be a great option for disabled students. It has over 250 undergrad programs as well as master’s and PhD level programs. Some of the degree programs include: 

  • Bio Chem (BS) 
  • Engineering Management (BS) 
  • Accounting (BS) 
  • Business Admin (BS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited 

Disability Programs

Hearing Impairment

Students who struggle to hear may find these schools accommodate them well:

Gallaudet University

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Gallaudet University has specific programs for students with hearing impairment, with all courses taught in both spoken English and signed English. It is the only university that targets deaf students specifically. Other disabilities are also accommodated, and hearing students are welcome. Degree programs include: 

  • American Sign Language (BA) 
  • Education (BA) 
  • Psychology (BA) 
  • Theatre Arts (BA)
  • School Details:

Midwest Institute

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Admission Requirements:

  • High school or GED considered but not required
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Grad Rate: 90%
  • Average Annual Cost: $22,126
  • Median Salary After Completing: $16,700 to $22,400
  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assisting
  • Massage Therapy
  • HVAC

Learning and Cognitive Disabilities

Learning differences require additional support at school, and these schools have risen to the challenge: 

University of Iowa

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Students with learning disabilities may achieve a Big Ten college experience through the University of Iowa. This school has a disability program for cognitive disabilities that focuses on career training. Undergrad degree programs include: 

  • Civil Engineering (BSE) 
  • Public Health (BA) 
  • Secondary Ed (BS) 
  • Sports Studies (BA)
  • School Details:

Disability Programs 

Physical Disabilities

Navigating a campus with a physical disability is challenging, but these schools strive to make it easier: 

University of California Berkeley 

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UC Berkeley has recently performed campus improvements to make its campus more wheelchair friendly. This means students with physical disabilities can get around campus easily. This school has over 350 degree programs across 184 departments. It holds the distinction of 31 alumni who earned Nobel Prizes. This school has many undergrad degree programs, like: 

  • Social Welfare (BA) 
  • Environmental Science (BS) 
  • Business Admin (BS) 
  • Bio Engineering (BS) 
  • School Details:

Disability Programs 

  • N/A

Tourette’s Syndrome

Though there are no specific programs for students with this condition at any colleges, students with Tourette’s Syndrome could find excellent support at: 

West Virginia Wesleyan College

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West Virginia Wesleyan has 56 undergrad majors for students to consider. It also has four master’s programs and a Doctor of Nursing Practice option. Many programs to assist students with special needs as well as Mentor Advantage Program tutoring services could help students with TS get off to a good start. Degrees include: 

  • Exercise Science (BS) 
  • Business Administration (BS) 
  • Physics (BA) 
  • El Ed (BS)
  • School Details:
  • HLC Accredited 
  • Online Degree Programs: BS, BA 

Disability Programs

Vision Loss and Blindness

These schools offer good accessibility for students with vision loss and blindness: 

Missouri State University

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Missouri State University has 102 bachelor’s programs, 61 master’s programs, and 7 doctoral programs. Its Disability Resource Center keeps visually impaired students well informed about things that affect their navigation of campus. Undergrad programs at this school include: 

  • School Details:
  • Online Degree Programs: Doctoral, MS, BS 
  • HLC Accredited 

Disability Programs

  • TRIO Student Support Services 
  • Disability Resource Center

University of Connecticut 

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UConn has a large campus with a small student to faculty ratio. The Center for Students with Disabilities helps modify the campus when needed for students with visual impairments. The school regularly has over 1,000 students with this disability. It has 14 schools and over 100 undergrad majors, including: 

  • School Details:
  • NECHE accreditation 
  • Online degree programs: MS

Disability Programs

  • Center for Students with Disabilities 

Grants for Women

Grants for Women

Find Information On Grants That You May Qualify For

Are there Grants for Women?

There are many grants for women. Some are merit based and reward academics, community service or talent. And others are for women who need financial help. Providers may also set aside grant money for women who are also part of a certain group. Like single moms, battered women, Veterans, minority women and females who put their degree on hold. 

Where Can I Find Grants for Women? 

As a woman, you have many sources to check for grants. Like gov’ts, nonprofits, agencies, businesses, foundations, schools or trusts. You can look for grants based on your major, ethnic group and status too. Using as many personal factors as you can think of might focus your search. And, help you find ones that suit the goal you want the grant to address. For more information on financial aid, grants, and scholarships, you can download our FREE Education Success Kit. You can also visit to find a list of scholarships and grants for women..

How do you get grants for women?

Apart from being female, to get a grant, you have to qualify. And because each grant giver looks for unique things, the criterion varies from one to the next. As a rule of thumb, many grants are for US citizens or legal permanent residents. You may also need to be a local or state resident and furnish a copy of your ID.

Merit grants generally go to women who also meet an approved GPA range. So, along with the form, you send copies of transcripts, official or unofficial. Women are still a minority in some parts of the workforce. To get these grants, you may need to be a woman studying in a field that is male dominant. 

Per Bureau of Labor Statistics (, in 2019 women made up 57.4% of the workforce. But there are still fewer female software developers, lawyers and executives. Need based grants are for low income women. These applications tend to want proof of financial need. An income tax statement, or a copy of your FAFSA paperwork.

For some grants, you send in separate references, a resume and personal essay. Another section might be for your awards, accomplishments and activities. Once your application is complete, make sure to send it in by or before the deadline. You may have to mail your complete package, use an online system, or both.

Why is Grant Money Available to Women?

Grant money for women aims to help females meet their educational and career goals (if you qualify of course!). The millions of dollars available to those who qualify may also fill the gap where women don’t have as many opportunities. Take the workforce. In spite of a strong presence, women are still a minority in some fields.

One study by the found that in 1970, women made up 38% of all U.S. workers and 8% of STEM workers. By 2019, the STEM proportion had increased to 27% and women made up 48% of all workers.

According to the same study, since 1970, the representation of women has increased across all STEM occupations and they made significant gains in social science occupations in particular – from 19% in 1970 to 64% in 2019. Women in 2019 also made up nearly half of those in all math (47%) and life and physical science (45%) occupations.

Then there’s pay inequality. Women employed full-time, year-round in STEM occupations earned more than their non-STEM counterparts but the gender earnings gap persisted within STEM occupations. Among the 70 detailed STEM occupations the Census Bureau reports on, women earned more than men in only one STEM occupation: computer network architects. But women represented only 8% of those in this occupation. It may be hard for a victim of abuse or single mom to afford a college degree. So, many charitable agencies who care about women’s causes make funds available too.

Why Consider Grants for Women?

Grants are a type of funding that women might use to pay for college. Unlike a loan, you typically do not have to repay the money. Studies show that having a college degree may boost lifetime earnings. At the same time, tuition for four year degrees are on the rise.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, it could cost around $18,383 at public colleges. A grant may offset some of the costs of tuition, fees, housing and supplies. Or, help women pay down other expenses such as childcare and travel to school.

Unemployment Rates and Weekly Earnings by Education Level*

Education Level Unemployment RATEMEDIAN Weekly Earnings 
Doctorate 2.5% $1,885 
Professional Degree 3.1% $1,893 
Master’s Degree 4.1% $1,545
Bachelor’s Degree 5.5% $1,305 
Source:, 2020
*Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary

Grants for Women for 2020 & Beyond

We’ve compiled a list of grants for women with deadline dates in 2020 and beyond.  

AAUW Career Development Grants

AAUW is the American Association of University Women. They began in 1881 and advocate for women’s and girl’s rights since. Career Development Grants range from $2,000 to $12,000. The grants are for women with a bachelor’s degree who want to re-enter the workforce, prep for or further a career. If you are a woman of color, it’s your first advanced degree or you are in a nontraditional field, you could get priority. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. And who earned their last degree before June 30, 2015. Funds are available for tuition, fees, books, supplies, local transportation and dependent care. 

Deadline: November 15

Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards

Soroptimist invests over 2.6 million in education grants to about 1,650 women each year. Some of the challenges these women face are poverty, domestic and sexual violence and addiction. The Live Your Dream Awards are grants for women who are the main bread winners in their families. As a recipient, you could use the cash to offset any costs related to higher education. Like books, childcare, tuition and transport. There are three levels of cash awards and the finalist may get up to $16,000.

Deadline: November 15

GoGirl! Grants

The Girlfriend Factor offers the GoGirl! Grants to help adult women access higher education. GoGirl! Grants are for females over the age of 25, in financial need and working towards an undergrad degree or trade certificate. Applicants also need to live and go to school in the Coachella Valley, CA. Before you apply, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. In the past, 147 local women got over $500,000 in grants. 

Deadline: June 15, December 15

Women Techmakers Scholars Program

Google offers a Women Techmakers Scholars Program. You may know this as the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Program. In spite of the name change, the program still works to create gender equality in the tech industry. It consists of an academic scholarship, retreat and online network. About 20 Women Techmakers Scholars in the US each get $10 K or $5,000 CAD for students in Canada. To be eligible, you need to be studying a computer focused major or one related to video gaming. 

Deadline: December 5

P.E.O. STAR Scholarship

P.E.O. is the Philanthropic Educational Organization. A member group, their mission is to help women pursue higher education. The STAR scholarship has, since 2009, helped exceptional high school senior women attend college. A non-renewable $2,500 award, the funds could help offset tuition, fees, books or necessary supplies. You may quality if you have a 3.0 GPA or above and plan to attend an accredited US or Canadian college. Applicants also need the vote of a local P.E.O. Chapter.  

Deadline: Varies

P.E.O. Scholar Awards

P.E.O. Scholar Awards are a one time merit award for women in doctoral level programs. These awards offset some of the cost of study and research. Eligible women are leaders in their field. Whether in university academics, science, medicine, law, global economics, history, literature, gov’t or the arts. Award amounts vary each year but the max you could get is $15,000. To apply, you must get a nomination and show a potential to make a positive impact.  

Deadline: Varies  

P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education

A need based grant, P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education is for women who put their degree on hold. It aims to help women go back to school to complete a college degree or certification that boosts their marketable skills. The max grant amount is $3,000 though lesser amounts may be available. If you qualify and get a grant, the money must go to education related expenses. Including childcare, mandatory uniforms and transport to and from class.  

Deadline: Varies  

Jeannette Rankin Foundation Award

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation (JRF) Awards are for low income women aged 35 and over. About 75% of JRF scholars are single moms, but you don’t have to be one to apply. You do need to be a US citizen or legal permanent resident. And you must be pursuing a technical / vocational associate or bachelor degree. Along with financial info, expect to submit references and transcripts. Grant amounts vary but since 2018 total more than $3 million.  

Deadline: February

Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation

Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first woman of color elected to the House of Representatives. The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation aims to carry on some of Mink’s goals. One of these is to make a college degree more accessible to low income mothers, especially single moms. While grant amounts vary, each year five women get up to $5,000 each. To qualify, you have to be 17 years or older and a mom of minor children. You must also be pursuing a first degree at an accredited US school and prove financial need.  

Deadline: August 1

Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP) Inc.

The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program, Inc. funds female survivors of intimate spousal abuse who seek higher education. Amounts range from $250 to $2,000 per school term. To qualify, you need to have a sponsor. A sponsor is a 501(c)3 charity (domestic violence victim services provider) that you’ve worked with for six months in a row. This person agrees to partner with WISP and you during your time in school. You also have to pursue your education at an accredited school and be separated from your abusive spouse for one year.

Deadline: Rolling 

Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarships

The Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarships provides grants to women soldiers (past or present) and their children. The funds aim to offset costs related to higher education. There are two programs, each with their own specs. Community College and Certificate Program Legacy Scholarships award up to $1,000 each. And College, University, and Graduate Program Legacy Scholarships award up to $2,500 each. Both kinds take into account your GPA, community service record, letters of recommendation and need level.  

Deadline: July 15

Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting (EFWA) Scholarships

The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting offers scholarships to women pursing an accounting degree. There are EFWA scholarships for undergrad, grad and post grad degree levels. You may apply for more than one scholarship as long as you meet the criteria. Within each category there are funds set aside for minority women, mothers returning to school and re-entry juniors and seniors. Amounts for these programs vary between $1,000 and $2,000 each. 

Deadline: April 30

Regents Health Care Scholarship

SUNY offers Regents Health Care Scholarships for medicine and dentistry. These awards pay up to $10,000 per year based upon income. They renew for up to four years of study if you continue to qualify. To be eligible you must be at the start or already enrolled in an approved program of study in medicine or dentistry in New York State. Applicants must be NY residents, US citizens, permanent residents or selected approved refugees. Preferred applicants are minority groups and those in financial need. Recipients must also agree to serve 12 months for each annual payment received.  

Deadline: January of the competition year 

Graduate Scholarships for International Students

Are there Graduate Scholarships for International Students?

International students wanting to come to grad school in the U.S., may apply for scholarships. Grad Scholarships for International Students are free money. You do not pay the funds back if you abide by the terms.

Many scholarships are for non U.S. students who want to attend grad school in the U.S. Some grad scholarships are for int’l students going for a master’s degree. There are others if you are going for a PhD or post grad certificate.

Yet another kind are for U.S. students who want to pursue a grad degree abroad. Rhodes Scholarships (for Oxford University) are one type. A U.S. student is an international student when they are studying outside the country.

An international student (for admissions and financial aids purposes) into the U.S. is

  • Not a U.S. citizen
  • Not a permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Does not have a refugee visa
  • DACA recipient (in some cases)

Types of Graduate Scholarships for International Students

There are different kinds of scholarships that international grad students might look for.

University scholarships. Some schools offer scholarships to grad students from other countries. Financial scholarships. Usually, these awards go to people with a high financial need. But they may also check out your GPA. Merit scholarships. These may look at financial facts but want students with strong minds and high GPA or GRE scores. Country based scholarships. These awards may only be available for people in certain countries Privately funded scholarships. Often from businesses or foundations with funds set aside for certain groups (E.g. minority groups, by major) Part scholarships. These may take the form of a contest, sweeps or give away (E.g. Scholarship Points)

How can I apply for an international scholarship for graduate students?

To apply for one of these scholarship, you need to meet certain criteria. And apply on time!

That said, eligibility varies from one scholarship to the next. If you apply for a university scholarship, you may need to have:

  • The U.S. equivalent of a bachelor’s degree (for acceptance into a master’s program)
  • The U.S. equivalent of a master’s degree (for acceptance into a PhD program)
  • Passing scores on an English proficiency exam (TOEFL / IELTS)

To decide who gets a scholarship, many providers also look at a student from all sides. Academic achievement, leadership, and financial need are common things that are considered. You may also need to be studying in a certain field with a track record of making a difference.

Why Consider Graduate Scholarships for International Students?

An estimated 1,094,792 international students study at U.S. schools. While at school, these students contribute $39 billion to the U.S. economy. They also add cultural value to their campus and the work place.

To study in the U.S., grad students face a few hurdles. For one, the exchange rate to U.S. dollars may be unfavorable. Another is having to pay out of state costs. Yes, getting a visa, and also being able to secure housing as well as other details too.

In the U.S. the price of tuition that students pay often depends on residency. If you are a resident of the state you study in, you pay in state tuition. The average cost of grad school at a public in state school is $10,979.

If you are not a resident, you pay out of state costs, which can be more expensive. At last check, the average cost of grad school at a private school is $23,266.

Which U.S. Schools Give Graduate Scholarships to International Students?

Many U.S. schools give scholarships to int’l grad students. Here are 5 of them:

Capella U, online. Capella Progress Rewards are scholarships for eligible new students and are not need based. Value: $3,000 to $20,000. Walden U, online. Walden awards up to $25,000. They fund grad study in K through 12 or public policy. American U, Washington DC. AU offers merit based awards which int’l students may apply for. U of Southern California. USC offers a wide range of scholarships in many disciplines of grad study. NYU, NY. NYU offers Wagner Scholarships which are merit based awards.

11 Graduate Scholarships for International Students for 2023

#1 Fulbright Foreign Student Program

The Fulbright Program awards about 4,000 foreign students up to $50,000 per year. The competition for a grant is merit based. But eligibility and selection vary by country.

Fulbright operates on a yearly application cycle. So, in most but not all cases, opens about fifteen months before the start of the grant.

Amount: Varies Deadline: The deadline is about 11 or 12 months before the grant’s start date. Requirements: Preferred students may need to meet a wide range of criteria. Some relate to academic merit. While others speak to project feasibility, and available grant funds. Non U.S. citizens with legal residency status in the U.S. are not eligible for Fulbright grants.

#2 Rotary Peace Fellowships

Each year, Rotary awards up to 50 fellowships for master’s degrees. Another 50 fellowships are for professional development cert programs.

Awards enable leaders from around the world to attend one of the Rotary Peace centers. Students must want to study peace, conflict, and security issues.

The grants pay up to $50,000 per year. Fellowships cover tuition and fees as well as room and board. They also include round trip transportation, and all internship and field study costs.

Amount: up to $50,000 per year Deadline: The 2021-22 application will be open in February 2020. Requirements: Master’s degree applicants need at least three years of full time work in a related field. Or volunteer experience and a bachelor’s degree. Their program lasts 15 to 24 months and includes a 2 to 3 month self designed field study. Certificate applicants need at least five years of full time work in a related field. Or volunteer work. You’ll also need to furnish a CV. This program is for the seasoned leader who wants to gain hands on tools to promote peace.

#3 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Every year, The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supports 30 scholarships. Each award is for up to $25,000 in stipend support a year. Plus, 50% of tuition and fees, up to $20,000 per year, for one to two years.

Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans also provide side opportunities. One is joining a alumni association which engages current and past Fellows.

Amount: Varies Deadline: November 1 Requirements: Recipients are immigrants or their children. The Fellowship supports one to two years of grad study in any field. It can be in any advanced degree granting program in the U.S.

#4 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

The Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship awards about 36 fellowships. It is open to all U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents and DACA recipients.

The goal of the program is to provide one year of support to people that are working on a dissertation that will lead to a PhD or ScD. Preferred students show a high level of promise as future scholars and teachers.

Those that receive the award will get a one year stipend of $25,000. They also get an invite to the Conference of Ford Fellows and access to Ford Fellow Regional Liaisons.

Amount: $25,000 Deadline: January 7 Requirements: Open to all U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents and DACA recipients.

#5 Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program 

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program develops Africa’s next generation of leaders. Preferred students have strong grades and a passion for making a difference.

In total, the value of the award is about $50,000 though the number of awards can change. The program provides financial, social, and academic support. Financial support includes tuition fees, books, and other materials.

Amount: Varies Deadline: Depends on the institution Requirements: Each partner has its own criteria. But, for a grad (master’s) degree, students must be 35 years old or under at the time they apply.

#6 Global Citizen Scholarship

MPower Financing is a is a mission driven fin tech company and provider of global educational loans. The mission at MPower Financing is to support int’l students and their career goals.

Each year, they offer a few scholarship programs. The Global Citizen Scholarship is their signature program. It yields three awards. One $5,000 scholarship, and a $3,000 and $2,000 one.

These scholarships will be awarded to one student from each of these countries/regions: India, Asia (excluding India), Latin America/Caribbean, and Africa. All winners must be students at a school MPOWER supports.

Amount: Varies Deadline: November 15 Requirements: To apply, you do not need to be a borrower. You do need to be enrolled in or accepted in, a full time degree program at a partner U.S. or Canadian school. You must also be an int’l student allowed to legally study in the U.S. or Canada, as applicable.

#7 Women in STEM Scholarship

Another goal of MPower Financing is to support innovation. Each year, they offer three annual Women in STEM Scholarships. One $5,000 scholarship, one $3,000 scholarship, and one $2,000 scholarship.

Amount: Varies Deadline: November 15 Requirements:  You do not need to be a borrower to apply. Awards go to female int’l/DACA students who are enrolled or accepted to study full time in a STEM degree program at a school MPOWER supports. The program can be in any field of STEM that leads to a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD.

#8 Korean American Scholarship Fund

Each year the Korean American Scholarship Fund offers awards. KASF scholarships range from $500 to $5,000. They are open to qualifying Korean American students. This includes foreign students from Korea.

Amount: $500 – $5,000 Deadline: June 3-, 2020 Requirements: Enrollment in a full time program in the U.S. during the scholarship application year is a criteria. Other criteria are financial need, grades, school activities and volunteer service. If extra funds are available, non Koreans may qualify for these scholarships. This includes offspring of American vets who served during the Korean War.

#9 Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program

The Humphrey Fellowship Program is for young and mid career professionals. It brings them from certain foreign countries to the U.S. for one year.

While it is a non degree program, Fellows have the chance to hone leadership skills. They take courses at their host school, attend conferences, network and exchange insights.

The goal is to help candidates develop a global mind set by studying abroad. It is not a normal grad school experience. But the Fellowship pays a stipend of about $50,000.

This covers tuition and fees at the school. Plus, a living and book allowance, insurance, air travel and a one time computer subsidy. There’s also a professional development allowance. This covers field trips, visits and conferences.

Amount: $50,000 Deadline: Application deadlines vary by country Requirements: Check site for eligibility requirements.

#10 American Association of University Women Educational Foundation

AAUW is a national grassroots organization. It has been helping to empower women as individuals and as a community since 1881.The International Fellowship Program is one of AAUW’s award programs.

The program is for women who are going for grad or post doctoral study in the U.S. on a full time basis. It supports women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

There are also a few awards for study outside of the U.S. (excluding the applicant’s home country). These go to women who are members of Graduate Women International

Up to 5 International Fellowships for master’s/first professional degrees are available. They are renewable for a second year and award $18,000. Doctoral awards are $20,000 and Post doctoral $30,000.

Amount: Varies Deadline: November 15 Requirements: Preferred applicants are women with a history of working to advance women and girls in some way. For instance, through civic, community, or professional work.

#11 PEO International Peace Scholarship 

The PEO Sisterhood is a charitable organization. Its mission is to advance, educate and motivate women. Members of P.E.O. believe that education is a key to world peace.

One of the awards the PEO offers since 1949 is the International Peace Scholarship Fund. This program awards up to $12,500. Scholarships go to international female students wanting to study at a grad level in the U.S.

Amount: up to $12,500 Deadline: December 15 Requirements: Preferred applicants show financial need. There are also lesser amounts awarded according to individual needs.

11 Graduate Scholarships for DACA Students in 2020

Can DACA Students Get Scholarships?

If you are a DACA grad student, there may be scholarships available to qualifying applicants. Graduate Scholarships for DACA Students may not have citizenship requirements. They may be open to Undocumented, or Eligible Non-Citizens (as defined by FAFSA).

Scholarships for DACA grad students vary in dollar amounts. Some may offset the cost of tuition and fees. While others may cover expenses like food, insurance, books and travel.

Unlike a loan, you typically do not pay the money back if you follow the terms. If the amount is high enough, it may help you meet the costs of earning a master’s degree or PhD.

To be able to apply for a scholarship as a DACA grad student, you need to meet the criteria. These vary from each college and grad schools as well as from each state and local source.

9 Common Criteria for Scholarships that DACA Graduate Students May Need

As a DACA student, your status may not be the only thing you need to show. When you apply for a scholarship, you may need some (or all) of the these to qualify. 

  • Grades – GPA range
  • Leadership skills
  • Volunteer service 
  • Goal to pursue a master’s degree or PhD in a certain field 
  • Membership in an association
  • Strong writing skills 
  • Work history related to your major 
  • Being a resident of a certain state 
  • Financial need  

3 Types of Scholarships for DACA Graduate Students

There are three main kinds of grad scholarships for DACA students. Need based, merit based and contest scholarships. 

Need based scholarships assess financial need. They may still look at a student from all sides. But preferred students will show a desire to go to grad school but also a lack of money.  

Merit scholarships may place more weight on your academic achievement or talent. They may also look at your volunteer service background.  

Contests are another way for DACA students to fund grad school. These often ask you to sign up by making an account. You might enter a few at once to improve your odds. 

One example is ScholarshipPoints. Applicants complete a student profile which asks for name, email, birthday and grade level. This is all you have to do to enter for the $10,000 prize.  

Winning a scholarship contest may help with costs related to getting your grad degree. But, they may not be enough to pay the entire tuition bill.  

As an example, the Get Schooled No Essay Scholarship is a $1,000 award. 

If this is the case, you may need to also get a small loan. Luckily, as a DACA grad student there are borrowers to turn to. MPower Financing is one such option. 

Why Consider Graduate Scholarships for DACA Students? 

About 690,000 people have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. The average age of “Dreamers” enrolled in DACA is 24 year. About a quarter (24%) are ages 26 to 30, while one in ten (11%) are ages 31 to 36.  

Almost half (45%) of current DACA recipients live in two states: California (29%) and Texas (16%). Illinois (5%), New York (5%), Florida (4%) and Arizona (4%) also have pretty big DACA populations. 

Without scholarships, DACA students may have a hard time being able to pay for grad school. These students do not qualify for federal aid or loans. But scholarships may be easier to find in some states than others. 

There are at least 19 states where DACA students may receive in state tuition. Of these, only some states offer state grants to these students. Those states are California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington 

Other states make these students pay the same tuition as an international student. These are Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia. Dreamers in these locations cannot access in state tuition. 

11 Scholarships for DACA Graduate Students for 2020

Are you a DACA student who wants to go to grad school? You may be eligible for state or school financial aid and private scholarships. To get started, check out these 11 scholarships for DACA grad students for 2020.

I Have a Dream Scholarship

The I Have a Dream Scholarship (Unigo) provides an award of $1,500.

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: January 31, 2021
Requirements: Applicants need to be 13 years or older, legal residents of the 50 states or DC.  To qualify, you must be enrolled in an accredited post secondary school. Then, write a 250 word essay answering the question: “What do you dream about?” 

SOS Migrant Student Scholarships

In 2019, Students of Salaam (SOS) began hosting a nation wide scholarship prize for 1 student attending a not for profit 2 or 4 year accredited post secondary school.

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: May 27, 2020
Requirements: Any student who has immigrated to the United States is eligible to apply. Students must either be enrolled in or currently attending an accredited post secondary school. Those who have already received a Bachelor’s degree or more are not eligible to apply. Students must be enrolled in the post secondary school for the Fall 2019-Spring 2020 academic year. Decisions are sent out mid June. 

National Association of Hispanic Journalist Scholarships

The NAHJ supports the professional growth of Hispanics in the news industry. NAHJ scholarship opportunities range from $1,500 to $10,000. They are open to both undergrad and grad students.  

Amount: $1,500 – $10,000
Deadline: February 22
Requirements: To be eligible, one must be going to school in the United States and Puerto Rico. Preferred applicants also have at least a 3.0 GPA. Preferred career paths are English or Spanish language print, broadcast, digital or photo journalism. 

Ruben Salazar Scholarship Fund – $2,000 

Set up in 1986, The NAHJ Rubén Salazar Scholarship Fund aims to assist young Latino journalists. Mexican American journalist Rubén Salazar was a columnist for the LA Times. He was also the news director for the Spanish language TV station KMEX.  

Facebook Journalism Project NAHJ Scholarship - $10,000 

This scholarship is an effort to support the future generation of journalists. Preferred applicants are pursuing a career in journalism. They must also show a passion for digital storytelling. 

Maria Elina Salinas Scholarship – $2,500 

Students applying for this scholarship must submit their essay in Spanish. Preferred applicants must show a strong intent to become a Spanish language journalist. 

eQuality Nursing Scholarships

Each year, eQuality Scholarship Collaborative awards scholarships. In 2020, they expect to award 1 to 2 scholarships of $6,000 each. The awards honor and encourage CA students for their service to the LGBTQ community. 

Amount: $6,000
Deadline: January 31
Requirements: Applicants must be a resident of northern or central CA. But may study in other places (there’s a list of approved sites). They must also be enrolled by the interview date and in good standing. Master’s programs with a BA/BS in a field other than nursing are eligible. RN re entry and RN to BSN or MSN programs are not eligible. 

Simplr AI and Technology Scholarship

Simplr is a Silicon Valley start up involved in machine learning and AI. They offer a $7,500 scholarship award as a way to give back to the community.  

Amount: $7,500
Deadline: December 31
Requirements: Applicants can be pursuing an undergrad or grad degree in an accepted major. Computer Science (CS), Math, IT. Or is attending or will attend law school. Criteria include merit and financial need. Applicants must submit a winning essay showing their passion for one of a few topics. AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), Block chain tech and Intellectual Property (IP) law.    

MPower Global Citizen Scholarship

The MPOWER Global Citizen Scholarships are available through MPower Financing. These scholarships support DACA and international students at partner schools.  

For the next cycle, they plan to offer one $5,000 grand prize scholarship and four $3,000 scholarships.

Amount: $3,000 – $5,000
Deadline: November 15
Requirements: You do not need to be a borrower to apply. The form asks prompted questions about goals and education history and includes a longer essay. 

MPower Women in STEM Scholarship

The Women in STEM Scholarship is available through MPower Financing. It focuses on women who will use their STEM degree to benefit society and the planet. Preferred candidates also have the potential to serve as role models for women in STEM. MPower plans to award one $5,000 scholarship, one $3,000 one, and one $2,000 one.

Amount: $2,000 – $3,000
Deadline: April 15, 2020
Requirements: Awards go to female international/DACA students. Applicants must be full time students in a STEM degree program. They must be studying at program MPower supports in the U.S. or Canada.  

Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship

The Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship is available from Golden Door Scholars, a non profit. Their mission is to help DACA students gain upward movement through education. To date they have awarded over $100,000 to over 50 students. Amounts of each award are not available yet. 

Amount: Varies
Deadline: Applications will reopen this fall and the 2020 deadline will be announced
Requirements: Applicants must be Illinois residents and attending an in state school. Preferred students have strong leadership involvement and at least a 2.5 GPA. They must also show that they cannot get federal aid.  

PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship Fund

The PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship Fund is available through the Chavez Foundation. It honors the legacy of civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. To the year 2021 there are 10 annual scholarships of $5,000 per student. 

Amount: Varies
Deadline: TBA
Requirements: Applicants must be students of Latino descent. They must be pursuing a degree in Arizona and California. Other criteria include academic excellence, at least a 3.0 GPA, leadership, volunteer experience and financial need. 

Davis Putter Scholarship

The Davis Putter Scholarship Fund aids those who work to advance social and economic justice. The largest grant is $15,000 per year.  

A complete application includes a 1000 word essay that details progressive social activity. You must also provide two letters of recommendation, transcripts and show financial need.  

Amount: up to $15,000
Deadline: April 1, 2020
Requirements: Preferred applicants to these need based scholarships are student activists. Recent awards went to students active in efforts against racism, sexism, and homophobia. To apply, you need to be a current grad student or enrolled in a trade or technical program.  

American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation Scholarships

Each year, AHLEF offers nine scholarship programs. These award scholarships valued up to $7,500. The awards go to students enrolled in hospitality related bachelor or graduate degree programs. Their next budget includes $1.3 million in scholarships spread to over 100 recipients.

Amount: Varies
Deadline: January 15
Requirements: Preferred applicants have strong grades, financial need, and relevant work history.  

Grad School Scholarships

Can I Apply for Grad School Scholarships? 

If you plan to attend grad school, there are many scholarships available to you. Some grad school scholarships offset the cost of a master’s degree. While others are for PhD seeking students and may help fund research.

You do not always need to pursue a grad degree on campus either. Many adults choose to attend grad school online and there are scholarships for this too.

Where do I Find Grad Scholarships? 

Many scholarships come from grad schools themselves. But there are private donors and agencies that offer them too. In fact, if your field of study has an association of some type, it may be useful for a scholarship. Sometimes, these awards are only for members, so you may have a shot. 

Take the American Speech Language Hearing Foundation. They offer scholarships of $5,000. They go to grad students in communication science and disorders master’s or PhD programs. Because they are not loans, scholarships and grants provide “free money”. You may have to abide by the terms though, so make sure to see what these are. 

How do you get grad scholarships for grad school? 

To get a scholarship for grad school, you must apply. You may apply only if you meet the provider’s criteria for eligibility.  

Eligibility varies from one scholarship to the next. But can include things such as:

  • Merit (E.g. GPA range, creativity shown in a portfolio) 
  • Financial need 
  • Intent to pursue a grad degree in a specific field (E.g., Business adminSocial workArchitectureProject Management, etc.)
  • Plans to research in a chosen area (E.g. Archaeological Research
  • Demonstrated qualities (E.g. History of leadership or Public Service
  • U.S. citizen, permanent resident status 
  • Live in a certain location 
  • Be a member of the grantor organization or association

Graduate Scholarship Contests 

There are also scholarships that are more like contests. These may ask you to submit a video or some kind of portfolio, depending on the subject. One example is the Pelican Water Sustainability Scholarship. Applicants create a video to support the theme of water conservation for a chance to win up to $1,500.

Or, all you might need to do is create an account and put your name in the hat. One example is Scholarship Points, a $10K giveaway.   

Graduate Scholarships for Minority Students and Women 

Yet others are set aside for people that belong to a certain group. Like women, international students and minorities. An example is the Jonathon Lax Scholarship Fund for Gay Men. These tuition awards are for $5,000 to $10,000 each. They honor inventor Jonathon Lax an inventor and entrepreneur. Recipients are gay men pursuing more education who live in the five county Philadelphia region.

Another is the Holly A. Cornell Scholarship. This $7,500 annual award is from the American Water Works Society. It goes to talented female and/or minority students. Recipients must be going for their degree and research in the field of water supply and treatment.  

Why Consider Grad School Scholarships? 

A grad degree may lead to higher life time earnings and more job potential. One recent study compared salaries for people with and without a grad degree. It found that people with a grad degree earn more and experience less unemployment.  

Unemployment Rates and Weekly Earnings by Education Level 

Education LevelUnemploymentAvg Weekly Earnings
Professional Degree1.5%$1,884
Master’s Degree2.1%$1,434
Bachelor’s Degree2.2%$1,198

But the average costs of grad school has been climbing. At last check, the average cost of grad school at a public in state school is $10,979. If you plan to pursue your degree at a private school it is $23,266.

While scholarship amounts vary, they may bring your goals within reach. They can help pay for tuition, travel fees, books, and other expenses. Especially if you have other spending needs like housing and children. 

Grad School Scholarships for 2020 & Beyond 

This curated list has eleven of the top grad school scholarships you can apply to in 2020. We selected a broad array of grad majors. Make sure to expand your search if you do not see one in your field.

Global Citizen Scholarship

MPower Financing’s mission is to support international students and their career goals. Each year, they offers three Global Citizen Scholarships. One $5,000 scholarship, and a $3,000 and $2,000 one.

You do not need to be a borrower to apply. These scholarships will be given to one student from each of the following countries/regions: India, Asia (excluding India), Latin America/Caribbean, and Africa. All winners must be students at a school MPOWER supports. 

Amount: Varies
Deadline: November 15, 2020
Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

Women in STEM Scholarship

To support future innovation, MPower Financing offers three annual Women in STEM Scholarships. One $5,000 scholarship, one $3,000 one, and one $2,000 one.

You do not need to be a borrower to apply. Awards go to female international/DACA students who are currently enrolled or accepted to study full time in a STEM degree program at a school MPOWER supports. This means any program in science, tech, engineering and math that leads to a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD.

Amount: Varies
Deadline: November 15
Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

Women Techmakers Scholarship

The Women Techmakers Scholars, sponsored by Google, honors Anita Borg. Anita’s vision was to create gender equality in the tech field.  

Women Techmakers Scholars in the U.S. will each receive $10,000 USD. Or $5,000 CAD (for students in Canada) for the 2020-2021 school year. All recipients get an invite to the annual Google Scholars Retreat. 

Amount: $10,000
Deadline: Fall
Requirements: Applicants must plan to be full time bachelor’s, master’s or PhD students. Other criteria include a strong academic record and leadership skills. Plus, you need to major in computer science, computer engineering or a technical field.  

Virginia Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Midwife Scholarship Program

Each year the Virginia Department of Health awards Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Midwife Scholarships. The program provides a scholarship award of about $5,000. The number of recipients depends on funding. 

Amount: $5,000
Deadline: Summer 2020
Requirements: Applicants must agree to two things. One is to practice full time as a nurse practitioner or nurse midwife. The other is to work in an under served area of Virginia. Preferred applicants are state residents and minority students. They must be in family practice, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, adult health, and geriatric nurse practitioner programs.   

ONS Foundation Master’s Scholarship

Each year the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation offers scholarships. These $5,000 awards go to RNs committed to oncology nursing. The number of scholarships varies – last year there were fourteen.  

Amount: $5,000
Deadline: February 1
Requirements: Applicants must be pursuing either a master’s degree in nursing or a post master’s certificate. They must also be enrolled at an NLN or CCNE accredited School of Nursing for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.   

African American Heritage Endowed MBA Scholarship

Each year the U of Washington Foster School of Business offers a non renewable scholarship. The amount varies from $7,500 to $10,000. The scholarship is for an African American student at the Foster School of Business. Preferred applicants show academic excellence and business leadership. The recipient will also partner with the Consulting and Business Development Center to provide consulting to an African American owned business in the Seattle area.   

Amount: $7,500 – $10,000
Deadline: April 5, 2020
Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility. 

Davis Putter Scholarship

The Davis Putter Scholarship Fund helps those working for social and economic justice. The largest grant from the Davis Putter Scholarship Fund is $15,000 per year. These need based scholarships go to students who promote social change. Like being active in the struggle against racism, sexism, or homophobia.

Amount: $15,000
Deadline: April 1, 2020
Requirements: To apply, you need to be a current grad student or enrolled in a trade or technical program. A complete application also includes a 1000 word essay that details progressive social activity. You must also provide two letters of recommendation, transcripts and show financial need.  

Frederic G. MELCHER Scholarship

The American Library Association (ALA) offers 2 to 4 annual scholarships of $7,500 each. Called the Frederic G. Melcher Scholarships, they help grad students pay for an MLS or MLIS degree.

Amount: $7,500
Deadline: March 1
Requirements: Applicants must also plan to work in a children’s library. This work may be serving children up to and including the age of 14 in any type of library. 

Beinecke Scholarship Program

The Beinecke Scholarship set up in 1971 is a program of the Sperry Fund. The goal of the fund is to support grad education in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. There are 20 awards granted each year. Candidates must plan to pursue a research focused master’s or PhD program in the arts, humanities or social sciences.

Each Beinecke scholar receives $4,000 right before entering grad school. Plus, an extra $30,000 while going to grad school. There are no geo restrictions on the use of the scholarship. Recipients may also combine the funds with other scholarships, assistantships and research grants. 

Amount: $4,000 plus an extra $30,000 for grad school
Deadline: February 12
Requirements: To apply, applicants must contact their campus liaison at a partner institution. Each school in the program may nominate one candidate per year for the scholarship. Candidates must show financial need, scholastic achievement and have a strong intellect.  

Hertz Fellowships

Each year, the Hertz Foundation offers awards to fund the cost of pursuing a PhD. The Hertz Graduate Fellowship Award are merit based. They consist of a cost of education allowance and a personal support stipend. Successful applicants have the choice of two fellowships. One is $34,000 and a 9 month stipend. There is an extra $5,000 per year for Fellows with dependent children. The award is renewable each year for up to 5 years.

The second option is a coordinated fellowship. It offers a Hertz period which provides full tuition and $40,000/9 month personal stipend. There is an extra $5,000 per year for Fellows with dependent children. The award is renewable each year for up to 5 years. Plus, an NSF period which gives $8,000/ year supplemental stipend from Hertz. 

Amount: Varies
Deadline: October 23
Requirements: Fellows must attend one of the Foundation’s currently participating schools. Or, must petition the Foundation to include a school in the U.S. that he/she desires to attend.

Vercille Voss IFDA Graduate Student Scholarship

The International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) awards a $2,000 scholarship. The annual award is The Vercille Voss Graduate Student Scholarship. It is in memory of Vercille Voss. She was a long time Illinois Chapter member and mentor to new members and students.  

Amount: $2,000
Deadline: March 31, 2020
Requirements: The scholarship program is open to enrolled full or part time grad students. Applicants must be pursuing a degree in interior design. Or a related design program. The completed application packet must include a few things. Like samples of your design work and a letter of recommendation. You must also write a 200 to 400 word essay. It should explain your goals, special interests and volunteer service. You also discuss what inspired you to pursue a career in this field.

15 Adult Scholarships for Adults Returning to School

Can Adults Get Scholarships? 

There are scholarships for adults returning to college after a gap. Adult scholarships may offset the cost of tuition, fees, books. Even childcare.

These awards are for many types of adults. Ones who did not earn a degree. Or, are “independent” per federal financial rules. Some awards help adult learners by funding a two year or four year degree. So, you may have past credits to use. Or none at all.

Others are for adults who want to enter or reenter the workforce. These may help finance a certified trade, professional, or technical program.

Many adult scholarships are for the nontraditional student. Or, an adult who 

  • Is 24 years and over
  • Earned a GED or certificate but not a high school diploma 
  • After high school, delayed going to college 
  • Has family and financial limits  
  • Works full time  
  • Attended college but part time

Most students who apply to college do so after high school. But  7.4 million students age 25 and older pursued a college degree in 2019. Yet adult students often face financial challenges when they return to school. So, taking out a loan is not ideal. Scholarships are grants, so you do not pay the money back. As long as you abide by the terms.

Types of Adult Scholarships 

Any scholarship comes with rules about who can apply. And adult scholarships are the same. Some awards are for adults who are also part of a group. Adult women in STEM, for instance. Or single parents. Others are set aside for specific ages, or stages of study. Like adults ‘over 35’.

Here are a few of these types of adult scholarships. What they award. And, how to apply. 

Federal Financial Aid for Adult Students  

Pell Grants are for undergrads with high need. So, while an adult, you may still qualify. To know if you are eligible, you submit a FAFSA. Or, Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The form is available on Oct 1st for the next school year. It does two things. Figures out your family’s income. And weighs it against the cost of attending your college. Awards amounts change each year. But until June 2020, the max is $6,195.

Reentry Scholarships 

Reentry scholarships aim to help adults who have been out of school for a period of time. And now want to resume or start college. Often, they have an age range. Like between the ages of 25 and 50. Or set a time frame like two or five years. But age is not the only criteria. You often have to show both promise and financial need too.

Scholarships for Single Parents 

Many award givers know how hard being a single mom or parent is. Juggling job, finances, and kids. So, they set scholarships aside. And they often go to those with very high need. One example is Helping Hands for Single Moms. It pays about $270 per month. And renews until you finish your degree.

Top Adult Scholarships for 2020

Here is a sampling of 15 scholarships for adult learners. Check out the criteria and apply before the deadlines.

College Jumpstart Scholarship

College Jumpstart Scholarship is an annual merit award. It pays $1,000 and as a nontraditional student, you can apply. Winners can use the money for any accredited school. So, a two or four year degree. Technical or vocational school.    

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: April 15, 2020
Requirements: To apply, you must be a US citizen. You must also commit to use education to better your life. 

Adult Skills Education Program

Imagine America Foundation offers a national aid program. ASEP, or Adult Skills Education Program. The program is available at about 400 career colleges. It offers a single tuition grant of $1,000. And you can use at partner schools to offset costs of job training.

Amount: $1,000
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

Surety Bonds Small Business Scholarship

Surety Bonds offers a Small Business Scholarship. The award pays $3,000 and you can use it at the college of your choice. 

Amount: $3,000
Deadline: April 2020
Requirements: To apply, you need to submit a video. The video should show how a small business made an impact on you. And, how you plan to use that experience in the future.

Jeannette Rankin Scholarship

The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund offers two award programs. Both for adults. Award amounts vary by family income. But you can use the money for technical, vocational, associate or bachelor’s degree programs. One is the Emerge Scholarship. It is for residents of the state of Georgia who are also 25 or older. Another is the Jeannette Rankin Scholarship. This one is for women, 35 years or older who are also low income.

Amount: $2,000
Deadline: February 29
Requirements: To apply, you need to create a user account. You also need to submit transcripts, references, resume, and FAFSA. 

PEO Program for Continuing Education

Each year the PEO Sisterhood offers awards to women. One is the PCE. Or, PEO Program for Continuing Education. The PCE is a need based grant. It pays up to $3,000 and the number of recipients varies. An aim of the PCE program is to help women go back to school. And gain marketable skills.  

Amount: $3,000
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: You do not need to be a PEO member to apply. But if you are not a member, you must first seek a chapter sponsor. Then you will need to meet award criteria. On the list – show you’ve been a non student for 24 months in a row. 

Osher Reentry Scholarships

Osher Reentry Scholarships are available at partner colleges. They are in 50 states and Washington DC. The awards help adults age 25 to 50 resume a bachelor’s degree. So, many have been out of school for 5 years or more. The number of Osher scholars changes each year. But the awards are renewable. And amounts go up to $50,000.

Amount: up to $50,000
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: To get an Osher award, you need to show a mix of financial need and promise.  

Executive Women International Scholarship

Founded in 1938, EWI brings women in business together. To do this, EWI partners with colleges and local chapters to offer scholarships. One is the ASIST scholarship for adults in transition. There are 13 such awards and they range from $2,000 to $10,000. Another is the EWISP scholarship for high school seniors. It awards over $2,000 in college aid each year.

Amount: $2,000 – $10,000
Deadline: March 27, 2020
Requirements: To apply, you need to find a local chapter. Like the one in Tampa, FL and apply. 

Unigo 10K Scholarship

Unigo offers a $10,000 scholarship that adults can apply for. It’s an essay contest. So, you have to imagine that a historical figure is brought to life. Who is it? What is their favorite mobile app?

Amount: $10,000
Deadline: December 31
Requirements: To apply, you need to be a legal resident of the 50 US states or DC. You also need to be currently enrolled (or enroll no later than fall 2025) in an accredited college.

Kazimour Scholarship

The Kazimour Scholarships are merit awards. And, are for nontraditional students. While the number of awards vary, they pay up to $500 each.

Amount: up to $500 each
Deadline: March 9, 2020
Requirements: To apply, you need to be a be a current, fulltime student in a 4 year accredited college. You also need to be a member of ANTSHE. The Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education.

American Legion Auxiliary Nontraditional Student Scholarship

American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) helps veterans, military and their families. To further this mission, they offer scholarships to members. The Nontraditional Student Scholarship is an annual award. It goes to a single recipient and pays $2,000.

Amount: $2,000
Deadline: March 1, 2020
Requirements: To apply, you may either be pursuing a two or four year degree. Or, training in a certified trade, professional or technical program.

ATHENA Adult Scholarships

The Chamber Foundation helps Hudson Valley residents pay for education. One of their programs is the ATHENA Adult Scholarship. It is an annual award and pays $1,500.

Amount: $1,500
Deadline: April 1, 2020
Requirements: To qualify you need to be both female and live in Dutchess County. You also must be a high school or college grad, out of school for at least 5 years.

Courage to Grow Scholarship

The Courage to Grow Scholarship is a $500 award. It goes to one person each month. And is easy to apply to. 

Amount: $500
Deadline: November 30, 2020
Requirements: To do so, you must explain in 250 words or less why you deserve to win. You also need to be a US citizen. Applicants can be either a junior or senior in high school or college student. But need a GPA of 2.5 or better.

Society for Women Engineers Reentry Scholarship

The Society for Women engineers offers annual awards. One of them is the Reentry / Nontraditional Scholarship. It is for women who have been out of school for two years. And, now want the credential to reenter the workforce as engineers. As long as the program is ABET accredited, you can use the money for studies at any level. So, community college to PhD. Amounts of the awards vary. But in 2019, SWE awarded nearly 260 new and renewed scholarships valued at over $810,000 

Amount: Varies
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

CollegeAmerica Grants

CollegeAmerica is a nonprofit university. They offer a wide range of grants that adults can apply for. One is the Return to Learn Grant. It pays $5,000 towards tuition. And is for adults who have college credits but did not yet earn their degree. The Dependent Student Grant is another. It also pays $5,000. But is for adults who are “independent” as per federal financial rules. There is also one for independent adults who never attended college. The First Time College Grant and is also a $5,000 award. 

Amount: $5,000
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: Check site to see requirements for eligibility.

15 Military Scholarships to Apply For in 2020

What is a Military Scholarship?

A military scholarship is a kind of grant. These awards are in place to help military members pay for college. Award amounts range from small sums. To full tuition, books, board and beyond.

Many military scholarships are only for service members and veterans. But others are for their spouses and dependent children too.

In fact, at last check, 87 % of spouses and dependents got financial aid. Most were pursuing an undergrad degree. Unlike a loan, you do not pay the money back. But some do come with terms you need to follow.

Some providers give scholarships to honor your service. Or, to honor the memory of a fallen hero. As a result, you may find unique programs in each branch of the military:

  • Air Force 
  • Army
  • Coast Guard
  • Marine Corps
  • Navy

Military scholarships also come from diverse other sources. From the VA and gov’t agencies. To colleges, nonprofits and private donors. Each award program comes with its own criteria. These tell you if you are eligible. And, how to apply.


Types of Military Scholarships

There are merit and need based military scholarships. Merit can mean grades. And need refers to a lack of money for tuition. Both may help fund college, career or technical school. But some aim to prep you for a civilian role. While others swap aid for officer training. 

ROTC Scholarships 

Many colleges partner with the ROTC to offer scholarships. ROTC is Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. The ROTC is a training program for college students. If you meet their criteria, you can apply. Basic criteria include being a US citizen with a high school diploma. GPA and test scores are a factor too.

ROTC awards may cover the costs of tuition, fees, and textbooks for four years. Plus, a monthly stipend for some expenses. In return, you must sign up to serve in the US military. And, while in school, take part in ROTC training.

While you serve after college, the number of years varies by branch. Here are a few examples:

  • Army ROTC scholarships holders serve 8 years (4 years of active duty and 4 years in the reserves) 
  • The Navy contract is 4 to 5 years of active duty 
  • Air Force ROTC service is 4 to 6 years of active duty. Plus, 10 years for cadets trained as pilots 

Scholarships for Military Spouses 

Scholarships for military spouses help with the costs of tuition. And like other awards, often go to those with high need. A military spouse is the husband or wife of a member of the nation’s armed forces. So, spouses of active duty members and veterans as well as widows.

You may find these awards through each branch of the military. One is the Spouse Education Assistance Program. Sponsored by the U.S. Army it is a need based scholarship. It is also one that spouses of Army soldiers who want to earn a college degree may apply for.  

Scholarships for Military Dependents 

There are scholarships set aside for military dependents and survivors. Such awards often help with college or vocational school.

A military dependent means spouses and children. It includes family members of active duty, retired and fallen soldiers. To get a scholarship, you may first need to fill out a FAFSA. FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

This helps the provider assess how much money to grant. But it is not always the only criteria.  In some cases, you may also need to have strong test scores and GPA. You may also need to show a track record of community service.  

Luckily, there are many sources to tap for this type of scholarship. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is one. An example is the Fry Scholarship. It is for children and spouses of service members who died in the line of duty. But after September 10, 2001. 

Scholarships for Veterans 

Scholarships support veterans who want to start, continue or finish a degree. They are for use at accredited schools and at many levels of study. 

There are also scholarships you may use at approved vocational or technical schools. These help veterans enter or advance a career in a skilled trade. Like TTT, Troops for Teachers. TTT is for current and former members of the Armed Forces. The program helps them shift to a career as a K 12 teacher. And is available in 31 states. To do so, it gives a $5,000 stipend or $10,000 bonus. Based on eligibility.

Often, the scholarships fill a gap. The one between GI Bill benefits and the cost of school. So, they may kick in to pay for tuition, housing and fees. To be eligible, you must have an honorable discharge from military service. But other criteria vary by program.

One is AMVETS National Scholarships. The American Veterans is a service agency that helps veterans. Each year they offer a few scholarships. Of them, two go Veterans, Active Duty, Guard/Reserves. One is only for their spouses. And another two only for their children and grandchildren.

College Specific Military Scholarships 

Many military friendly colleges sponsor scholarships. Some, unique to their school. Some honor a local hero. Or, show respect to an alumnus who served. The awards also help military students afford their studies. And, may extend to direct family members too.

You may apply for these scholarships when admitted. To both the college and your degree program. Then, if eligible, you apply for the award. Here, a strong essay with a clear message may be useful. 

Military Scholarships for 2020 

Below is a sampling of military scholarships that you might apply to in 2020.   

HotelPlanner Graduate Technology Scholarship for Military Veterans

The HotelPlanner Scholarship Program is for US veterans. It is also open to their family. Spouse, partner or children above 16. Each of ten applicants gets a sum of $1,000 each. Two times per year. One aim of the program is to help with the cost of a technology degree. It can be at any level – undergrad or graduate.

Amount: $1,000 each
Deadline: Summer – Apply by August 15th / Notified by September and Fall – Apply by December 15th / Notified March
Requirements: To apply, you need to show financial need. You also write an essay or present a video. This must explain how the military spiked your interest in tech.  

NMCCG Enlisted Dependent Spouse Scholarship

Each year, the Navy Wives Clubs of America, Inc. (NWCA) gives up to 30 scholarships. Of these, two are for spouses, widows and widowers. The NMCCG Enlisted Dependent Spouse Scholarships. Spouses can be of a retired or enlisted member. Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard active duty.   

Amount: $500 – $1,000 each
Deadline: May 2020 
Requirements: To apply, you need to submit a copy of the military ID card. Also, attach a copy of your tax returns.

Blinded Veterans Association Scholarships 

The Blinded Veterans Association is a national agency. BVA members are blinded veterans. And help other blinded veterans. Each year, they award two merit scholarships. While they do not auto renew, you can re apply up to 4 times. One award is the Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship. It gives 6 people scholarships for $2,000 each. The other is the Thomas H. Miller Scholarship Program. This award goes to one person and is for $1,000. It  

Amount: $1,000 – $2,000 each
Deadline: April 2020
Requirements: To be eligible you need to be a dependent child, grandchild, or spouse of a blinded veteran. But do not need to be a member of the BVA.

Maryland Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship

Each year, the Maryland Higher Education Commission offers about 125 awards. The Maryland Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarships. Armed forced personnel who served in these conflicts are eligible to apply. As well as their sons, daughters and spouses. Awards amounts vary and adjust based on VA benefits. But may cover up to $10,655 per year.

Amount: up to $10,655
Deadline: March 2020
Requirements: To apply, you need to fill out a FAFSA by March 1st each year. You can also renew the awards if you keep your GPA at 2.5 or higher.

Mike and Gail Donley Air Force Spouse Scholarship

The Air Force Association offers a few award programs each year. One is the he AFA Mike & Gail Donley Spouse Scholarship program. It awards two $2,500 scholarships on an annual basis. And aims to help Air Force spouses worldwide pursue a college degree at any level.

Amount: $2,500
Deadline: April 30, 2020
Requirements: The Air Force Spouse Scholarship program is designed to encourage Air Force spouses to pursue associate or bachelor undergraduate or graduate/post graduate degrees.

Pat Tillman Scholars Program

Each year the Pat Tillman Foundation offers awards. These are for military members, veterans and spouses. Tillman scholarship amounts vary. But give annual funding for academic expenses. So, things like tuition, books and living expenses. The average award amount last year was $6,567 per year. Others range from $1,500 to $23,000.

Amount: $1,500 – $23,000
Deadline: February 28
Requirements: To get one, you need to show selfless leadership. And dedicate yourself to make an impact. You will also have to write two essays. Plus, supply references, finances and have a 3.0 GPA.

NMCRS Gold Star Scholarship

The U.S. Navy Marine Corps Relief Society sponsors the Gold Star Scholarship Program. It is for the dependent children and spouses of Navy and Marine personnel. Ones who were killed in the line of duty. Awards range from $500 to $2500 per academic year. And, there are about 30 recipients each year. If you are studying oceanography, NMCRS offers another award. The McAlinden Divers Scholarship. It awards from $500 to $3,000. And is for active duty or retired Sailors, Marines and family members.    

Amount: $500 – $3,000
Deadline: May 1, 2020
Requirements:  To get an award, the committee looks at two things. Financial need and academic merit (3.0 GPA and above).

American Legion Scholarship

Every year, the American Legion helps children of fallen soldiers. One way they do this is through the Legacy Scholarship. The Legacy Scholarship amounts vary as do the number of people who get one. But past awards were about $1,785.

Amount: Varies
Deadline: April 15, 2020
Requirements: Awards go to children of post-9/11 veterans who died on active duty. Or who have a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater. 

Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship 

A grant from Mr. Frederick W. Smith funds the Purple Heart Scholarship. It is a competitive program, and awards $3,000. 

Amount: $3,000
Deadline: February 15
Requirements: To be eligible, you must meet a few sets of criteria. One is to be a Purple Heart recipient and member of MOPH. You can also apply if you are the spouse or lineal descendant of someone who is or was. But not a great grandchild. Other criteria include being a full time undergrad at an accredited US school. You may also need a GPA of 2.75 and up.

Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund

CPOSF is a nonprofit. Their mission is to help qualified family members of US Navy Chief Petty Officers pay for education. Last year, they awarded 30 scholarships. Amounts were $2,000 each. 

Amount: $2,000 each
Deadline: April 1, 2020
Requirements: To qualify, you need to be a non uniformed spouse or dependent child. You also need to have a GED and be on track for an associate or bachelor’s degree. 

Make it Count Scholarship

The Make it Count Scholarship honors Spencer C Duncan. He was an Army Specialist, killed in action is August 2011. Each year, Grantham University offers 4 awards to deserving applicants. Valued at $5,000, you can apply the funds to any degree program at the school.

Amount: $5,000
Deadline: Varies
Requirements: To apply, you need to meet admissions criteria. Then, qualify for the scholarship. The scholarship is also open to a parent, child, spouse or sibling. As long as their family member served or is serving in the US Armed Forces. 

Army Nurse Corps Scholarship 

Every year, the Army Nurse Corps offers scholarships. Its goal is to support nursing education. 

Amount The 2020 ANCA scholarships will be $3,000 per selected applicant. 
Deadline: March 30, 2020
Requirements: To apply, there are a few rules to meet. For one, you need to be serving or have served in any branch or rank of the US Army. You also need to be enrolled in an accredited bachelor’s, graduate nursing or anesthesia program. But, cannot be also receiving GI Bill benefits or an ROTC scholarship.

My CAA Scholarship

My CAA scholarship is an award for military spouses. It is part of the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program. Awards only pay for tuition for credentials, certificates, or associate degrees. Or, to pursue a recognized license or industry certification. Certificates and credentials may be for post graduate work also. 

Amount: The scholarship provides up to $4,000 with an annual fiscal year cap of $2,000.  
Deadline:  Varies
Requirements: To qualify, you need to be a military spouse with a high school diploma. And, need the extra education to prep for a career. Spouses can be of service members on Active Duty, under Title 10 orders. Or, spouses of service members with pay grades of E1 through E-5, W1 through W-2, O-1 through O-2.

Military Service Recognition Scholarship

New York State’s Division of Veteran’s Services offers annual awards. One is the Military Service Recognition Scholarship (MSRS). MSRS awards vary but in amounts. But may pay about 20 people up to $21,250 each. MSRS awards are for family members of New York State fallen veterans of the US Armed Forces.

Amount: up to $21,250
Deadline: June 30, 2020
Requirements: The awards are for spouses and dependents of US Armed Forces or state organized militia. Ones who, at any time on or after Aug. 2, 1990, while a NY State resident, died. Or became disabled while engaged in hostilities or training for it. 

Education Tax Credits | AOTC & LLC

The United States government offers Education Tax Credits (ETCs) to eligible students and people who pay for education. Tax credits are a dollar-for-dollar deduction on a tax bill that lower the amount of taxes you owe. If the deductions bring the amount of taxes you owe to below zero, you might receive a refund.  These credits were designed to reward students for going to college and help make tuition more affordable.

There are two possible tax credits students can receive: the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). To receive either one, students have to meet a variety of criteria. Some are the same and others differ.

To receive either the AOTC or LLC credit, you must, at a minimum, meet the following criteria:

  1. You, your dependent, or a third party must pay qualified expenses for higher education. Qualified expenses include tuition and fees required for enrollment.
  2. An eligible student must be enrolled at an eligible higher education institution. Eligible higher education institutions are ones that qualify for federal student aid. They must have a Federal School Code.
  3. The eligible student (whether it’s you, your spouse, or a dependent) must be on your tax return. An eligible student cannot be married and file separately.

Beyond this, students must meet additional different criteria to be eligible for the AOTC and LLC.


The American Opportunity Tax Credit is a modification of a previous credit, the Hope Credit.

Students, spouses of students, and third parties (such as parents of students) can claim the AOTC. The person who claims it must have paid the qualified expenses (such as the tuition and fees) of someone in school. That person can request the AOTC to apply toward expenses paid during the prior year or during the first three months of the year, the taxes are being filed.

Once you’ve qualified, you can apply for the AOTC once per calendar year for the first four years of a student’s college education. That student must be in a program that leads to a degree or certificate, and they must be enrolled at least half-time during one academic period (such as a semester) for the tax year.

This credit is calculated in two parts, meaning students can receive the tax credit on the following:

  1. 100% of the first $2000 of eligible expenses
  2. 25% of the next $2000 of eligible expenses

In short, the AOC is worth up to $2500 in tax credit per year. If you do not owe any taxes, you can have up to 40 percent of the tax credit refunded to you.

To remain eligible for this tax credit, your modified adjusted gross income must be $80,000 or less. For married couples filing jointly, it must be $160,000 or less.


The Lifetime Learning Credit is easier to qualify for than the AOTC.

Students become eligible for the LLC by taking at least one course during the tax year. Their course or courses can apply toward a degree or certificate, or they can simply stand alone. Said another way, students can earn this credit simply by taking a course or two to enhance their job skills.

There is no limit to the number of years students can apply for the LLC. Therefore, they can apply for one as they earn their undergraduate and/or graduate degrees. They can also apply for it to supplement the costs of undergraduate or graduate courses.

To be eligible for the LLC, applicants’ modified adjusted gross income must be $52000 or less. For married couples filing jointly, it must be $104,000 or less. You can only claim an LLC for one student per tax return.

The LLC is worth up to $2000 per return. Unlike the AOC, it does not offer a refund if you do not owe any taxes.

Like the AOTC, the LLC is available to U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens. It is not available to students who are already claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return (such as a parent’s).

Key terms and forms for the LLC:

  • Modified Adjusted Gross Income: this is the adjusted gross income, found online seven of Form 1040. Use Publication 970 through the IRS to help find this number. It helps you identify whether or not you’re eligible for the AOTC.
  • IRS forms to use: Form 8863 (Education Credits) and Form 8863 Instructions (note that this is the same form you will use for the AOTC).


Maximum CreditUp to $2500 per eligible studentUp to $2000 per credit return
Refundable or Not Refundable40% of creditNot refundable 
Limit on MAGI for Married Filing Jointly$180,000$134,000
Limit on MAGI for single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)$90,000$67,000
Number of Years of College Education Available4Unlimited
Type of Program RequiredThe student must be pursuing a degree or certificate  The student does not have to be pursuing a degree or certificate
Number of CoursesThe student must be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period beginning in 2018Available for one or more courses
Qualified ExpensesTuition, required enrollment fees, required course materialsTuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance
Whom Can You Claim the Benefit for?
  • You
  • Your spouse
  • The student you claim as a dependent
  • You
  • Your spouse
  • The student you claim as a dependent
Who Must Pay the Qualified Expenses?
  • You or your spouse
  • Student
  • Third party
  • You or your spouse
  • Student
  • Third party


Taking advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit help make higher education more affordable. Remember that to qualify for either, you must:

  • Pay qualified expenses for higher education
  • Have a student (or be a student) registered at a qualified college (one that has a Federal School Code)

Otherwise, the LLC is easiest to qualify for. To receive that tax credit, students can take as few as one class. They do not have to be pursuing a degree or certificate. And they can apply for the LLC for the duration of their academic career; there is no limit to the number of years it’s available.

The AOTC meanwhile, is more difficult to qualify for. To receive that tax credit, students must be enrolled at least half time for one academic period per year. They have to be pursuing a degree or certificate. And they can only apply for the credit for the first four years of college education.  

The IRS makes applying for the AOTC and the LLC relatively simple. Applicants can use Form 8863 for both, and instructions for applying are available online.

Be sure to take advantage of the government-supplied benefits.

Student Loan Consolidation


Consolidating a loan means combining several loans into one. If you borrowed many student loans during college, consolidating them can make your life easier in the following ways:

  • You can turn several loans into a single loan
  • You can make a single monthly payment instead of many
  • You can switch variable interest rates to a single, fixed interest rate
  • You might be able to lower your monthly bill
  • If you have loans that don’t currently qualify for a federal loan forgiveness program, you could turn them eligible

Students who borrowed federal student loans may apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan. This lets you combine different kinds of loans, like Unsubsidized and Nonsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans.

Often, students consolidate after their grace period is over. The grace period is when your loans are temporarily in deferment after you graduate.

What about private student loans? While not eligible for a Direct Consolidation Loan, you can consolidate your loans through a lender. This is called refinancing.



You can to fill out a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note online. You may need information such as your Social Security Number, driver’s license number, and two personal references.


You may not wish to consolidate all of your federal loans. Why? Because some may come with extra benefits, like Perkins subsidized interest, or cancellation and discharge programs. You’ll lose those benefits after you consolidate.

Plus, if you have a loan with a higher interest rate than the others, you may wish to pay that off on its own. That’s because the interest rate of your Direct Consolidation Loan depends on the weighted average of the interest rates for all your loans. It may be smart to pay off that higher interest loan quickly, instead of including it in your Consolidation Loan.

What about private student loans? Since these don’t come with federal benefits, you could potentially refinance them all with a private lender.


For federal loans, you can choose from several servicers. One possible option is FedLoan Servicing, which manages the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). If you plan to work toward PSLF, it may make sense to choose FedLoan Servicing.

For private student loans, there are several private student loan companies that do refinancing. When choosing a company to work with, consider factors like:

  • Interest Rate Ranges: The interest rate you qualify for depends on your lender, your credit report/eligibility, and the market. As of 2018, variable interest rates range from about 2.5 to 9.09%. Remember that variable rates can get higher or lower over time. Fixed rates, which stay the same, range from about 3.35 to 9% in 2018.
  • Loan Amount: Some lenders have minimum or maximum amounts you can refinance.
  • Loan Period: How quickly do you want to pay off your loan? Refinancers may have a minimum loan period, usually from five to 15 years. They may also have a maximum loan period. Remember that the quicker you pay off your loans, the higher your monthly payments will be. But, you’ll save on interest if you pay off your loans quickly.
  • Hardship Options: Does your lender have deferment and forbearance options? If you have trouble paying off your loan due to an event like the loss of your job, these options could help.
  • Fees: Compare late fees or other kinds of loan servicing fees.
  • Extra Benefits: What extras make a particular lender stand out? For example, some offer interest rate reductions if you hit milestone goals – like repaying the first 10% of your principle.


For federal loans, there may be several ways to repay your consolidation loan.These include:

Standard Repayment Plan – Fixed payments, made over a period of 10 to 30 years Graduated Repayment Plan – Payments start out low and increase over 10 to 30 years Extended Repayment Plan – Fixed or graduated payments; pay off your loans in 25 years Income Driven Repayment Plans – Payments are recalculated each year based on factors like your income and family size

Private student loan refinancing companies do not have the same kinds of repayment options. That said, some lenders may offer more flexible plans.


Once you’ve fully understood your options, it’s time to take the next step. Contact the loan servicer if you have questions or need help with your application.


Both student loan consolidation and refinancing are ways to simplify repayment and change your loan terms. Consolidating only works for your federal loans, though.

If you want to combine several private student loans (or private + federal loans), you’ll have to refinance. Student loan refinancing means applying for a new private student loan and using it to pay off your other loans.

There are pros and cons to both. For starters, consolidation typically won’t lower your interest rate. Refinancing usually does, meaning you could save money over the life of your loan.

That said, refinancing student loans depends on factors like your income, credit report, and debts. In other words, your loan terms are based on your creditworthiness. That’s not the case when you consolidate federal student loans.

And, refinancing federal loans with a private lender could mean you lose out on key benefits – like subsidized interest or loan forgiveness.

Depending on the types of loans you have, a combination of consolidation and refinancing may be the ideal plan.

 Student Loan ConsolidationStudent Loan Refinance
Which Loans Can I Combine?Most federal student loansBoth private and federal loans
Can I Lower My Rates?Can I Lower My Rates? The interest rate on Direct Consolidation loans is based on the weighted average of the interest rates of the loans you’re combining. The good news? This interest rate is fixed, which means it can’t get higher over time. Yes, you may qualify for lower interest rates. It helps if you (or your cosigner) have a high credit score and low debt-to-income ratio.Yes, you may qualify for lower interest rates. It helps if you (or your cosigner) have a high credit score and low debt-to-income ratio.
Can I Save Money?Probably not (though fixed interest rates could help). Consolidation usually increases the length of your repayment period. Taking longer to repay what you borrowed could mean you’ll pay more interest over the life of the loan.Yes, you could save money if you qualify for a lower interest rate. Paying off your loan quicker can also help you save money.
Can I Use Federal Loan Protections and Forgiveness Programs?

Consolidating federal loans other than Direct Loans may give you access to:

  • Income-driven repayment plan options
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

But, consolidating your current loans means you’ll lose credit for any payments you’ve already made toward income-driven repayment plan forgiveness or PSLF.

And if you have Federal Perkins Loans, you’ll lose benefits like subsidized interest and cancellation/discharge options.

When you refinance federal student loans with a private lender, you lose federal benefits and programs. These include:

  • Income-based repayment options
  • Federal loan forgiveness programs
  • Interest discounts or rebates
  • Federal deferment and forbearance options (if you have trouble paying back your loans)
Will I Pay Only One Bill?YesYes
Who Offers These Loans?The U.S. Department of Education (often through consolidation loan servicers). Your first step should be to apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan at lenders, like banks and financial institutions


Average Debt Per Borrower (2016-17)

  • Public Four-Year Institutions: $26,900
  • Private, Nonprofit Four-Year Institutions: $32,600


LenderWhy this LenderEligible DegreesEligible Loans
LendKeyChoose from flexible repayment plans, like interest-only payments for the first four years. And, pay no origination fees.Undergraduate and/or GraduatePrivate and/or Federal
CommonBondThey offer up to 24 months of forbearance over the life of your loan. And, you’ll pay no origination fees or prepayment penalties.Undergraduate and/or GraduatePrivate and/or Federal
College AveThey offer 16 loan term options. Choose how long it will take to pay back your loan, between five and 20 years. Plus, qualify for a lower interest rate when you use autopay.Undergraduate and/or GraduatePrivate and/or Federal

Repaying Student Loans

Repaying Your Federal Student Loans

Get Informed, Then Get Matched To Online Schools Using Our Degree Finder!


Federal student loans come with eight student loan repayment options. It is important to know what these are so you can choose the best one for your wallet. To do so, you’ll need to figure out your needs. This includes understanding the amount of time and money you have each month to pay back your loan.

One online tool you can use to help you decide on a plan is the Department of Education’s Repayment Estimator. It will ask you to plug in your loan balances, interest rates, tax filing status, income, and family size. Based on your answers, the Repayment Estimator generates a list of:

  • Which repayment plans you are eligible for
  • The amount of your first and last monthly payments
  • Total amount paid
  • Any projected loan forgiveness
  • How long you have to repay your student debt

Since there are different plans and grace periods, it is crucial to get to know the features of each choice. Often, a student loan servicer can work with you, but it is a good idea to go into a meeting prepared. For quick reference, the main types of student loan repayment plans are as follows. Before you start, these differ from the ways you’d pay back a private loan, which we discuss further on in the article.

  • Standard Plan
  • Extended Plan
  • Graduated Plan
  • Income-Driven Plans
  • Income-Sensitive Plan


Standard plans are the default payment plan for Federal Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL). They allow you to pay off your loan within 10 years, and you’ll have a monthly fixed amount to repay for this period. This amount depends on your balance and whatever it will take to pay it off in 10 years. That said, you may need to pay at least $50 per month through the life of your loan.

One of the draws of the Standard Repayment Plan is that it doesn’t lock you in. Should you start to struggle financially, you‘ll be able to switch out. Then again, if all goes according to plan, you’ll be student-debt free after 10 years. You can then move onto other financial goals.

There’s also the issue of interest fees. Compared with Income-Based Repayment Plans, which we discuss below, these will be lower. Reason being is that IRPs stretch out over a longer period and so may increase your interest fees. The down-side with this plan is that your monthly payments with an SRP may be higher than some other plans.


Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans may help you manage your student loan debt. They do this by reducing your monthly payment amount. As a result, in the short term these plans can help you with cash flow. Long-term though, you may have to deal with taxable income on forgiven loans, plus pay more in interest fees.

There are four income-driven repayment plans available to borrowers who qualify. These may suit students who struggle to make payments on their current salary. With IDRs, the money you have after expenses (discretionary income) becomes important as you’ll see in the synopsis below.


Monthly payments are generally equal to 10 percent of your discretionary income divided by 12. Any remaining balance is forgiven after 20 or 25 years.


Monthly payments are generally equal to 10 percent of your discretionary income divided by 12. Any remaining balance is forgiven after 20 years.


Monthly payments are generally equal to 15 percent of your discretionary income divided by 12. You pay 10 percent if you are a new borrower. Any remaining balance is forgiven after 20 or 25 years.


Monthly payments are 20 percent of your discretionary income divided by 12. Or, however much your monthly payment would be over a fixed monthly payment plan of 12 years (longer than the 10-year SRP). Any remaining balance is forgiven after 25 years.


The Extended Repayment Plan allows you to repay your loans over a longer period of time than the Standard and Income-driven plans. Unlike the 10-year SRP term, you’ll be able to make payments for up to 25 years. These payments are either fixed or graduated for up to 25 years. In general, this means lower payments than under the Standard and Graduate Repayment Plans. However, if you want to get your student debt out of the way to save for a house, retirement, travel or other goals, this may not work for you.


The Graduated Repayment Plan starts you off with lower payments that increase every two years. This means, you’ll be on the same 10-year plan (or 30-year plan for consolidated loans), but your monthly payment starts out low and gets higher over time. This type of plan anticipates you’ll be able to make substantive payments once you are underway in a career.


Your loan servicer takes care of your student loan billing and each has its own payment process. It is your duty to make direct payments to your servicer, though they can often work with you if you need help. If you don’t know who your servicer is, check your account in My Federal Student Aid .

How much will I need to pay? Your payment, which is usually made on a monthly basis, depends on four things:

  1. The type of loan you received
  2. How much money you borrowed
  3. Which repayment plan you use
  4. Interest rate on your loan


The time lapse after graduation and before you start making payments is a “grace period”. Usually it is a set time frame which gives you the space to settle your finances and select your repayment plan.

No grace period – PLUS Loans (possible eligibility for deferment)
6-month grace period – Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
9-month grace period – Federal Perkins Loans
Up to 3-year extension – Military service members

Caveat: While it may sound great to have this breathing room, interest will mount up if you have unsubsidized loans. It’s the same when you don’t pay a credit card balance on time.

In contrast, Perkins loans, direct subsidized loans, and subsidized Stafford loans don’t accrue interest during the grace period. You can, however, use your grace period to make interest payments. If this is easy for you to do, it’ll put you one step ahead when your grace period is up.


Do you need to postpone your payments? In some cases, one may be eligible to receive a deferment or forbearance. These are temporary pauses which allow you to stop making payments. Or, reduce your monthly payment amount for a specified period.

For instance, there’s a provision in the Department of Education Appropriations Act, 2019 which allows cancer patients to get deferments while they are in treatment. Part-time students, military persons and others may also be eligible for a deferment.

One thing to remember is that with a deferment, you may not be responsible for paying the interest your loan amasses. This applies only to specific types of loans. During a forbearance though, you are responsible for paying the interest that accrues on all types of federal student loans.


Do you have many federal student loans? You may be able to merge them into one loan with a fixed interest rate. The amount of the loan depends on the average of all the joined interest rates and there is no cost to you. To do so, you need to file a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note. Overall, this may simplify your repayment process.


The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is a federal program. It forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans for eligible student loan debt holders. How do you qualify for public service loan forgiveness? To be eligible for PSLF, you’ll need to meet several criteria:

  • Where you work matters. Qualifying employers include the government or not-for-profit organizations.
  • You must first enroll in a qualifying repayment plan. Examples include REPAYE, PAYE, IBR, ICR and SRPs.
  • You need to be a full-time employee. This means more than 30 hours per week.
  • Under one of these plans, you’ll have to make 120 qualifying monthly payments.


Are your federal student loan payments high compared to your income? If so, you may want to repay your loans under an income-driven repayment plan. Most federal student loans are eligible for at least one (of the four) income-driven repayment plans.

If your income is low enough, your payment could be all of $0 per month. Remember though, you’ll need to make calculations using your discretionary income as a guide. To calculate your discretionary income, find the difference between your adjusted gross income and 150 percent of the annual poverty line for a family of your size and in your state.

You may also want to familiarize yourself with the different repayment periods and payments. The table below is an overview of this information.

Income-driven Plan NameTerm LengthMonthly Payment CapDescription
Income-based repayment (IBR)20 years if you’re a new borrower on or after July 1, 2014
25 yearns if you’re not a new borrower
After July 1, 2014
10% of discretionary income (for new borrowers) on or after July 1,2014 but never more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan amount
15% of discretionary income if you’re not a new borrower on/or after
July 1,2014
  • Low monthly payments
  • Loans eligible for forgiveness after repayment period
  • Possibility of higher interest fees
  • If your loans are forgiven, the balance may be taxable
Income-contingent repayment12 yearsThe lesser of either 20% of your discretionary income
what you would pay on a repayment plan with a fixed payment over the course of 12 years, adjusted according to your income
  • No income eligibility requirement may make it easier to qualify
  • You may be eligible for loan forgiveness
  • Parents with PARENT PLUS Loans can qualify once they consolidate their loans into a Direct Loan
  • Highest potential payment amount of all 4 plans
  • If your loans are forgiven, the balance may be taxable
Pay as you Earn20 years10% of discretionary income
  • Lowest payment amount for eligible borrowers
  • Loans eligible for forgiveness after repayment term
  • Only new borrowers can qualify
  • If your loans are forgiven, the balance may be taxable n qualify
Revised Pay as you Earn (REPAYE)20 years if the loans are for undergraduate study
25 years if the loans are for professional or graduate study
10% of discretionary income
  • Lowest payment amount for eligible borrowers
  • Loan forgiveness terms depend on whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student
  • Monthly payments factor in your spouse’s income regardless of filing status
  • If your loans are forgiven, the balance may be taxable


To apply for one of the Income-driven Repayment Plans, there are some easy steps to follow. You won’t need an application fee, but the process requires you to complete it in one session. If you’re nervous about filling out official forms, you can download a PDF version of the Request and do it manually. Otherwise, here’s how to prepare.

  1. Create an FSA ID (or have your ID number handy)
  2. If you are married, make sure you have your spouse’s SSN and information
  3. Have your personal information and income figures handy
  4. Set aside at least 10 minutes
  5. Go to
  6. Log in to start the application
  7. Complete the Income-Driven Repayment Plan Request

Each year you’ll need to recertify, in order to remain eligible for the lowest possible monthly payment amount.


Basic Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans often balance a monthly payment you can afford today and a lesser total amount overall than income-driven plans. That said, an IDR may lower your payments today even though in the long run, you may be paying more.

Basic Repayment Plan NameTerm LengthDescription
Standard Repayment10 yearsFixed Monthly Costs
Graduated Repayment10 or 30 years for consolidated loansMonthly payment starts out low and gets higher over time
Extended Repayment25 yearsYour payments are either fixed or graduated for the term of the loan


Private Student Loans do not qualify for federal income-driven repayment plans. Or forgiveness programs. Yes, a debt is a debt, but Federal Student Loans begin with the U.S. Department of Education. They also come with standard benefits and protections.

The reason for this is that to get a private student loan, you’ll usually deal with a bank. Or, you’ll borrow from a private financial institution. In general, neither comes with either income-based repayment plans or forgiveness options.

Also, because these institutions don’t have to offer financial assistance to student borrowers, there aren’t as many ways to repay the loan. This limits the ways you can repay your loan, although may have a few options if you start to struggle.

To help you better grasp how to potentially lower your private student loan payments, check out some suggestions below. These may give you some food for thought on how to better manage your monthly payments.


If you are up for giving it the ‘old college try’, setting a budget that covers your needs rather than wants is a good place to start. Some loan lenders also suggest that you make auto-debit payments which may lower your interest rate. This is useful if you can count on your income (and can generate more money). Not so good if you think you might be hit with overdraft fees.


You do need to go through hoops (credit scores for e.g.) set by your financial institution. Yet refinancing student loans may help you manage any flux in your budget. This is where you’ll have to shop around for lenders to see what terms they offer – 5, 7,10, 15 and 20 are common. Some also allow you to merge private and student loans. As such, you may be able to find a lower interest rate, decrease your monthly payment, or both.


Some lenders may offer Repayment Assistance Options to help students manage their loan repayments. Some of these are similar to federal loans, only you’ll have to qualify with a
Lender such as Discover.

  • Deferment – A temporary postponement of payments
  • Forbearance – postpones your loan payments for up to 12 months during the entire term of your loan, though there are stipulations
  • Hardship – A temporary reduction of interest rates for up to 12 months, subject to stipulations
  • Early Repayment Assistance Program – A 3-month postponement of payments
  • Payment Extension –Allows students to bring their loan current by making 3 minimum monthly payments (or the equivalent amount of 3 minimum monthly payments) within a 90-day period
  • Reduced Payment – The Minimum Monthly Payment is reduced, subject to a $50.00 minimum, for an initial period of six months.


If you don’t have trouble paying off your debt but what bothers you is that it seems to drag on forever, there are some ways to pay off student loans faster. To begin, you should know what your payoff date is. Then, strive to bring this date closer. Does one of these options feel like an opportunity to reach this goal?


Yes, it’s tempting to spend but you if you come into some money, let’s say through overtime, commission or a tax refund, bank it towards an additional or lump-sum payment. Remember, any amount brings the goal in focus.


If you can free up some cash, make more than the minimum payment either weekly or monthly. It’s easy enough to do and you’re in control of how much you pay above the minimum payment. Or, set up a slightly higher amount than the minimum in auto-pay. Even foregoing 5 coffees a week adds up.


If you enter a career like teaching or public service, as we’ve seen above, you may be eligible to apply for loan forgiveness. Some states also offer Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs). Naturally you’ll have to qualify. But it is one way to get money toward paying off your federal (or in some cases, private) student loans.


Make sure you make use of any tax credits and deductions where eligible. If you’re paying off student loans, you may be eligible for the student loan interest deduction on your federal taxes. Now, assuming you get a huge refund, stick to your plan and see numbers 1 and 2.


Refinancing is one way to get rid of debt faster while you lock in lower interest and monthly payments. To do this, you’ll want to compare refinance terms and see which lines up with your goals. For instance, when you refinance, it will change your monthly payments. Make sure they will be more manageable. If you’re financially in trouble, this may only add to your troubles, but if you have good credit and income stability do some research, shop around and see if it is a viable option.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans help bridge the gap between federal financial aid and what your college tuition actually costs. First, max out financial aid from other sources – like grants, scholarships, work study, and federal loans. Then, applying for private loans may be the next step in your college financing plan.

Here’s what you need to know before getting started!


Federal student loans are funded by the federal government, whereas private student loans come from lenders like banks and credit unions. Other differences include:

  • Overall Cost of the Loan. Private education loans tend to cost more, overall.
  • Interest Rates. Private student loan interest rates may be higher than federal rates. Sometimes, private loans have variable interest rates that change over the life of the loan.
  • Loan Repayment Terms. Private loans generally have less favorable repayment terms. Federal student loans may offer income based repayment plans and other benefits.
  • Borrower Eligibility. Your credit score may be a factor in determining your eligibility for private student loans. You may also need a cosigner. Most federal loans, on the other hand, don’t require a credit check or cosigner.

You should exhaust all government financial aid programs before applying for private student loans. That said, you might need a private loan if federal loans don’t cover the full cost of college.


Many banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions offer private student loans. It’s wise to compare interest rates, terms, and conditions for a few top rated lenders to find the loan that’s ideal for you.


  • Sallie Mae
  • SunTrust 
  • College Ave
  • PNC
  • Citizens


Applying for a private loan online doesn’t take long, and you can see your result in a matter of minutes. Apply with one of our loan partners online:

Sallie Me Private Student Loans
Looking for last minute money for college? Check out the Smart Option Student Loan by Sallie Mae, which offers three repayment options and competitive interest rates to fit your financial needs. Learn more and apply today!Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Certificates, Career Training, Graduate Degrees, Medical, Dental, and Health Professions

Not all private student loans are the same, and some lenders may offer loan products, features, and terms that better suit your goals. As you research potential lenders, here are a few key factors to keep in mind:

  • Your Eligibility. Are you looking for private student loans without cosigner requirements? Do you have low credit? Depending on your credit history and eligibility, some private loans may be a more optimal fit than others. Lenders may look at your citizenship status, your income, whether you are a part time or full time student, and other criteria.
  • Loan Cost. Examine factors like the loan’s interest rate, interest type (fixed or variable), and fees associated with taking out the loan. All of this will figure in the total cost of your loan. For example, be wary of choosing a low, variable interest rate over a higher, fixed rate. Particularly if you plan on paying off your loan over a period of many years. Variable rates can spike with the market, meaning you end up paying more than you bargained for.
  • Loan Features. Some private loans offer potential benefits and features like cosigner release, deferment due to financial hardship, or early repayment options. Many lenders even offer an auto pay discount, which is usually a reduction of 0.25 or 0.50 percent off the interest rate. Compare several lenders to see what features may be available.


Before turning to private student loans, you should always submit your FAFSA and maximize any federal grants or loans you may qualify for. And don’t forget to apply to scholarships! If it turns out you need more funds, start the process of choosing a lender and applying for private student loans.


  1. Get Ready to Apply. Generally, you can apply for private student loans online. To start, you’ll need to prove your basic eligibility – like citizenship and college enrollment status.
  2. Submit Documentation. You’ll need to provide your personal and financial information to your lender. Your lender may require documents like your Social Security number, a pay stub for proof of income or your monthly housing costs. They may also as for your school’s cost of attendance, the amount of financial aid you’ve already received, your cosigner’s details (if applicable), and other information.
  3. You’ll Receive a Decision. Your lender will need to process your application and analyze your financial and eligibility information, to let you know whether you’re approved. If you’ve applied for your private loan online, you may receive a result pretty quickly – sometimes in minutes! In other cases, a lender may need more information from you to move forward.
  4. Choose and Accept the Loan Terms. Once you’ve been approved for the loan, you’ll need to decide on your interest rate type (fixed or variable), loan term, and repayment plan. You and your cosigner (if you have one) will then sign the loan agreement.
  5. Wait for Disbursement. Your private student loans will be sent directly to your college or university. If you have borrowed more than your tuition actually costs, your school will generally refund the difference to you. You can return that money to your lender. Or you could use it to cover other college costs, like room, board, or your textbooks. It’s always best to borrow the minimum amount you need to cover your education related expenses.


Taking out private loans for college may help make your education possible. College may help you achieve new career goals and pursue a rewarding future. But, it’s important to know your risks and responsibilities as a borrower. You need to ensure you are ready to take out and eventually repay your private loans.

Military Benefits

Military education benefits offered under the GI Bill might help you pay for college and transition into the next phase of your life. But for many active service members or veterans, a traditional college experience isn’t the perfect fit. Online learning may better suit your lifestyle, schedule, and goals. And the good news is, online degree programs may be eligible for military education benefits.


You may qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill if you have at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service following September 10, 2001, and you are still on active duty; if you are an honorably discharged veteran; or if you were discharged with a service-connected disability after at least 30 days of service.

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) may be available to active duty military members or selected reservists. In the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) program, service members must pay $100 a month for twelve months and complete a minimum service obligation. In the Montgomery GI Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) program, the VA makes monthly payments toward your benefits.

Both the Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bill programs may be used to pursue a variety of educational paths. These include college degree and certificate programs, vocational and technical courses, and even online or correspondence courses.

Check out our chart at the bottom of this article, to compare military education benefits programs you may qualify for!


Wondering how to use your VA online school benefits? Actually, using the GI bill for online schools isn’t any different from using these benefits at a traditional college…as long as your school and program are eligible.


  1. If You’re Ready to Apply, Do So. You can apply for VA military education benefits online, or else apply in person at your regional VA office. You can also call 1-888-GI BILL-1 (888-442-4551) to have an application mailed to you.
  2. If You Have Questions About Your Benefits, Talk to Someone. You can consult with the VA Certifying Official at your school of choice, to learn more about using your military education benefits. This person is usually in the Registrar’s or Financial Aid office. If you plan to study online or at a school far from home, that’s okay. Just contact the Registrar’s or Financial Aid office by phone or email. You can also seek assistance from an employee at your regional VA office.
  3. Wait for Your Claims to Be Processed. It usually takes about 30 days for VA to make a decision about your claims.

Servicemembers, veterans, and even military spouses and dependents may qualify for various military education benefits, many of which can be used to pursue an online degree program. But yes, it can get confusing. Use our handy chart to compare programs you may be eligible for. Remember to always check with The Department of Veterans Affairs to verify your eligibility and learn more about these and other programs.


Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP); also known as Ch. 1607REAP ended on November 25, 2015. However, veterans who were attending an educational institution on (or on the term ending before) November 24, 2015, may remain eligible for REAP benefits until November 25, 2019.N/AN/AFor most service members, REAP benefits are no longer offered. Others have until November 25, 2019 to use benefits.
Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP)You must meet these requirements:
– Entered service for the first time between January 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985
– Opened a contribution account before April 1, 1987
– Contributed from $25 to $2700
– Completed your first period of service
– Were not dishonorably discharged
You must have elected to make contributions to this program from your military pay. The government matches your contributions, 2-for-1.Degree and certificate programs, technical or vocational courses, correspondence courses, and other programs that may potentially be pursued online.Benefit entitlement is for one to 36 months. After your release from active duty, you have 10 years to use VEAP benefits. After that time, your contributions will be refunded.
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) ProgramYou must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:
– A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability that arose out of active service in the Armed Forces.
– A veteran who died from any cause while a service-connected disability was in existence.
– A service member missing in action or captured in line of duty.
– A service member forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
– A service member who is hospitalized or receiving treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for the disability.
If you are attending a college or vocational program, you must be attending full time, 3/4 time, or halftime. The number of your benefits will vary depending on this status.
Check with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to learn more about requirements and current benefit rates.
Degree and certificate programs,
apprenticeships, and on-the-job training. Spouses may take correspondence courses.
You may receive up to 45 months of education benefits, if you began using the program before August 1, 2018. If you began your program on or after August 1, 2018, you have 36 months to use the benefits.
Tuition Assistance Top-UpYou must be a recipient of the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty or Post-9/11 GI Bill programs and be approved for Federal TA, among other potential requirements.You may receive up to the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of Tuition Assistance that is paid by the military for the course.College programs,
vocational programs, correspondence courses, apprenticeships, job training, flight training, and more
Top Up is limited to 36 months of payments. (For example, a six-month course would use up six months of your benefits.)
Work Study ProgramYou must be a full-time or 3/4-time student in a college degree, vocational, or professional program.
You must be in one of the following programs:
– Post-9/11 GI Bill
– Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty
– Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program
– Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program
– Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve
– Or other select programs.
You must perform approved VA-related work while you are in school. You’ll earn the Federal minimum wage or your State minimum wage, whichever is greater.College degree, vocational, or professional programsThe total number of hours you work cannot exceed 25 times the number of weeks in your enrollment period.
Entrepreneurship TrainingYou must be eligible for any of these VA Education Programs:
– Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty
– Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve
– Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program
-The Post-9/11 GI Bill
You may receive benefits for courses offered by Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). Individual courses mustCourses offered by Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)Varies
Yellow Ribbon ProgramYou must be eligible for the maximum (100%) benefit level under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Check with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for more specifics.
In addition, your school must meet certain eligibility requirements. For instance, they must participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program and certify your enrollment to VA.
You must be enrolled in a school that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, and you must have been accepted to the Yellow Ribbon program, in order to receive potential benefits.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay qualifying candidates:
– All resident tuition and fees for a public school
– The lower of the actual tuition and fees or the national maximum per year for a private school
Educational programs at schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon ProgramYour participation may be reassessed on a year-to-year basis, depending on factors like your enrollment, your school’s continued participation, and your remaining entitlement under the Post‐9/11 GI Bill.

Disclaimer: This is a private website that is not affiliated with the U.S. government, U.S. Armed Forces or Department of Veteran Affairs. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information. This site is not connected with any government agency. If you would like to find more information about the benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, please visit the official U.S. government web site for veterans benefits at


Finding online degree programs that suit your goals, academic interests, and VA education benefits may be easier than you think. Search online for Montgomery GI Bill and post 9 11 GI Bill online classes and programs. Or, let Education Connection help match you to colleges and universities for free!

Grants and Scholarships

How to Get Money for College Through Grants and Scholarships

Then, Get Matched To Online Schools Using Our Degree Finder!

According to some research, 66% of parents and students reported high levels of stress about paying for college. Luckily, if you’re one of these families, there are plenty of grants and scholarships available to help you pay for college.

Continue reading to learn about some available scholarships and grants and how to apply.



Scholarships are a great way to help you earn some money for college because there are so many out there. Plus, the scholarship awards range from a couple hundred dollars to paying for your entire tuition.

While the larger amounts are less common, there are plenty of ways to find scholarships that you qualify for.


Unfortunately, many students don’t think they’ll qualify for college scholarships because they weren’t valedictorian or a star athlete.

However, that’s simply not the case.

There are plenty of available scholarships that offer free money for college based on a number of different characteristics, such as those listed above. That means that anyone may qualify for a college scholarship, even you.

All it takes is doing some initial research to find out which scholarships you qualify for and submitting the application requirements, which usually includes an essay or writing sample.


Finding scholarships, and learning how to apply, used to be a challenge as you’d have to flip through worn out and dated books at the library.

Now, there are plenty of resources online that are updated in real time and allow you to find the perfect scholarship for you.

One way is to use, a college scholarship database, which is the premier network for current and future college students as they figure out how to pay for college.

Other ways of finding scholarships include:

  • High school guidance counselor
  • College financial aid office
  • College guidance counselor
  • Federal agencies
  • Public library
  • Foundations, religious or community organizations, or civic groups
  • Ethnicity-based organizations
  • Professional organizations related to your field of interest
  • Your employer (or your parent’s employers)
  • Local organizations and clubs


Check out some easy scholarships below and click on any to apply before the deadline.


Amount: $10,000
Deadline: Annually by December 31
To apply for this scholarship answer the question: If a historical figure was back to life in the present day, who is and what is their favorite app?


Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by January 31
Requirements: Dreams can have a powerful impact on our lives, as well as reveal your subconscious thoughts. Here’s your chance to earn a scholarship for sharing them.


Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by February 28
Requirements: The Sweet and Simple Scholarship Committee wants to hear about a sweet and simple gift you received that had a big impact.


Amount: $2,500
Deadline: Annually by March 31
Requirements: We’ve all thought about what superpower we’d like to have. Now, those thoughts may help you earn a scholarship!


Amount: $3,000
Deadline: Annually by April 30
Requirements: It’s often been said that education is the key to success; What doors could earning a degree open for you?


Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by May 31
Requirements: What’s so special about the number five? Now’s your chance to potentially earn some money to help pay for college by sharing what you think makes five stand out.


Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by June 30
Requirements: What if you had a chance to do-over a moment in your life? What would it be and how would the change impact your future?


Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by July
Requirements: July is National Ice Cream Month, so it only makes sense to ask: if you were to be an ice cream flavor, which would it be and why?


Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by August 
Requirements: The Make Me Laugh Scholarship is a great way to show how funny you are.


Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by September
Requirements: Whether it’s a message to the world or a simple greeting, this scholarship gives you the platform you’re looking for.


Amount: $2,000
Deadline: Annually by October
Requirements: If you’ve ever envisioned a zombie apocalypse and how you would survive, here’s your chance to share it with the world.


Amount: $5,000
Deadline: Annually by November
Requirements: Have you come across those who told you not to pursue your degree? How did you respond? Why does education matter to you?


Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Annually by December
Requirements: The Top Ten List Scholarship thinks you’re amazing and they want to hear the top ten reasons.


Amount: $1,000
Deadline: Annually by May 31 & November 30
Requirements: Tell other students about your experience so they can make better decisions about college.


When writing an essay for a scholarship, always:

  • Keep in mind your audience
  • Apply as early as possible
  • Follow instructions
  • Double check your spelling and grammar


Unlike some of the other types of financial aid, both grants and scholarships don’t need to be repaid as long as you complete the requirements laid out. For example, some grants may require you to be a full time student or may be tied to a subject area. Also, some scholarships may require you to hold a certain GPA. So be sure to know what you need to do to hold up your end of the deal!

Because grants and scholarships generally don’t have to be repaid. This makes them some of the most sought after ways of paying for college for both undergrad and grad students. However, there are some differences between these two. For instance, many scholarships are merit based, which means that they are awarded to students who have achieved certain goals or have certain qualities. For example, there are awards based on:

  • Where you live
  • Race or religion
  • Academic or athletic record
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Essay competition

On the other hand, grants are usually awarded as need-based. However, many schools offer both need-based and merit-based grants to students.

On the other hand, most of the federal grants are need based and for those students who meet certain criteria.


BenefitCollege ScholarshipCollege Grants
Offered ByState Government, Institutions, Private SourcesFederal Government, State Government, Institutions
How Winners Are DecidedMerit-basedFinancial need-based (some exceptions)
Amount AwardedVariesVaries
Have to Repay?NoNo


Grants work a little bit differently than scholarships, though they can be beneficial because you don’t have to repay them either. So, just like scholarships, they’re free money for college.

However, often these are based on financial need, though as mentioned, many colleges and universities also offer grants through the institution that are merit-based or a combination of merit-based and need-based.

There are two types of grants for college:

  1. Federal Grants
  2. Institutional Grants

As every school has unique grants, the list would be entirely too long to publish here. So, contact your financial aid office.


As most federal grants are awarded to students with financial need, they use the FAFSA to determine what amount of need you qualify for, just like the different types of federal student loans. Keep in mind that you need to complete the FAFSA every year to update the information.


There are four types of federal grants, each with slightly different requirements. Be sure to check the specific requirements to see if you qualify.


Usually, these grants are only awarded to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s or professional degree.


The FSEOG program is administered directly by the financial aid office at participating schools and not all schools participate. Check with your school’s financial aid office to find out if your school participates.

Similar to the Pell grants, FSEOGs are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need and the school’s financial aid office will award the grant to students with the most financial need.


These grants are different than others because they require you to take certain kinds of classes in order to get the grant and then do a certain kind of job to keep them from turning into a loan.

Awarded to undergraduate teaching students, you are required to teach for a minimum of four years at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families.

If this service obligation is not met, the grant is converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.


The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is only available to those whose parent or guardian served in the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.

In addition, you need to have been under 24 years old or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time parent’s or guardian’s death.


Visit to find even more scholarships. Unigo has a database of over 3.6 million college scholarships and grants worth over $14 billion dollars!  To make your search easy from the start, Unigo divides its list of scholarships into comprehensive categories. You can also create an account to find personal scholarship results. 

Your Guide to Federal Student Loans

Federal loans for students offer you the chance to borrow funds for college that you must repay with interest. Often, these federal loans offer a lower interest rate and more flexible repayment terms than private student loans.

Learn all about what types of federal student loans are available to find the best option for you and don’t forget to discover grants and scholarships to help you earn free money for college.

In 2015-16, 85% of first-time, full-time degree / certificate-seeking undergraduate students were awarded financial aid. Overall, 72.3%of all undergraduates received some type of financial aid.



There are two main types of federal student loans:

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program

These loans have unique requirements, interest rates, and maximum awards per year, which are explained below.


This is the largest federal student loan program where the U.S. Department of Education is the lender. These loans include:

  1. Direct Subsidized Loans
  2. Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  3. Direct PLUS Loans
  4. Direct Consolidation Loans

Check out the table below to learn about the differences between these loans.


As opposed to direct loans, which have the Department of Education as the lender, the Perkins loans are school-based loans, which means that the individual school is the lender.

These loans are offered to undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. In addition, the amount awarded depends on the amount of funds available at a particular school.

Often, the students with the greatest financial need are awarded Federal Perkins Loans.


Federal LoanCollege Degree LevelFederal Student Loan Program DetailsInterest Rate (First Disbursed on or After July 1, 2018 and Before July 1, 2019)Maximum Annual Award
Direct Subsidized LoanUndergraduateFor those with financial need5.05%$5,500 (depending on grade level and dependency status)
Direct Unsubsidized LoanUndergraduate, graduate, and professional degree studentsFinancial need is not required5.05% (6.6% for graduate or professional)$20,550 (depending on grade level and dependency status)
Direct PLUS LoanParents of dependent undergraduate students; and for graduate or professional degree studentsFinancial need is not required; borrower must not have adverse credit7.6%Maximum amount is cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you receive
Federal Perkins LoanUndergraduate, graduate, and professional degree studentsEligibility depends on financial need and availability of funds at your school5.0%$5,500 for undergraduate students; $8,000 for graduate and professional students


71.6% of all graduate students received some type of financial aid, including 44.2% of graduate students who took out some type of loan.


In order to apply for federal student loans, you must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Based on these results, your college or career school will send you a financial aid letter, which may or may not include an offer of federal student loans.

This offer includes instructions on how to accept all or part of the loan. However, before you receive your loan funds, you will have to complete two steps:

  • Complete entrance counseling to ensure that you understand your obligation to repay the loan
  • Sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN), agreeing to the terms of the loan

As some students may not receive federal student loans as an option after completing the FAFSA, don’t forget about private student loans. While each lender and type of loan have different requirements than federal loans, private loans are available to all students.


Some of the benefits of federal student loans include:

  • Interest rate on federal loans is usually lower than private student loans
  • You don’t need a credit check or cosigner for most federal loans
  • You don’t need to begin repaying your federal loans until you leave college or drop below half-time
  • If you demonstrate financial need, you may qualify to have the government pay your interest while you are in school
  • Many federal student loans offer flexible repayment plans and options to postpone your loan payments if you’re having trouble
  • You may be eligible to have a portion of your federal loans forgiven if you meet certain conditions and work in certain jobs

FAFSA Application Deadline

Normally, online FAFSA applications must be submitted by midnight Central Time on June 30 of a given year. For instance, the 2019 FAFSA deadline is midnight Central Time, June 30, 2019.


Whether you’re taking out a private student loan or a federal loan, it’s important to consider the legal obligation you have to pay back then loans, so responsible borrowing is key.

Some of the things to consider when borrowing money for college:

  • Understand your total amount of loans and how this will affect your future finances
  • Research starting salaries in your field
  • Understand the terms of your loan
  • Make payments on time

Often there are flexible repayment terms for both federal loans and private student loans. This includes options such as, grace period, interest-only payments while in school, and interest rate reductions for automatic debit.

Looking for private student loans? Check out some of your options here!

Percentage of Students Stressed about paying for college

According to a 2017 study by The Princeton Review, 98% of college applicants and their parents said financial aid would be necessary to pay for college. Plus, 65% said financial aid was extremely necessary.


As the price of college tuition continues to rise understanding the types of financial aid and finding the right combination of financial aid to pay for your degree is just as important as finding the perfect program for you.

Luckily, there are plenty of other options of financial aid for you to choose from, including:

  • Federal Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Federal Work-Study
  • Private Student Loans
  • Institutional Aid
  • Employer Funding

All of these options mean that you don’t have to worry if you need to supplement your federal student loan offer. Discover some private student loans to find the perfect one for you.


Finding the right mix of financial aid is one of the key aspects of earning your degree. That’s why it’s important to consider all of your options and be sure to do your research.

A good starting point is talking to your counselor or the financial aid office at your school, both of which should have specific details for you to explore.

In the meantime, check out some of our private scholarships and find the perfect degree for you.

© Education Connection 2023. All Rights Reserved.


Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Disclosure: EducationDynamics receives compensation for the featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored Schools” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored Results”).  So what does this mean for you? Compensation may impact where the Sponsored Schools appear on our websites, including whether they appear as a match through our education matching services tool, the order in which they appear in a listing, and/or their ranking.  Our websites do not provide, nor are they intended to provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the United States (b) located in a specific geographic area or (c) that offer a particular program of study.  By providing information or agreeing to be contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.

This is an offer for educational opportunities, not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The financial aid information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.

1 You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2018/19 school year who were approved when they returned in 2019/20. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2019/20.

2 This promotional benefit is provided at no cost to borrowers with new loans that disburse between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022. Borrowers are not eligible to activate the benefit until July 1, 2021. Borrowers who reside in, attend school in, or borrow for a student attending school in Maine are not eligible for this benefit. Chegg Study® offers expert Q&A where students can submit up to 20 questions per month. No cash value. Terms and Conditions apply. Please visit for complete details. This offer expires one year after issuance.

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