Undergraduate Grants

Posted on January 24, 2017 in Scholarships

An undergraduate grant is allocated by a public or private agency to help individual students pay for their college education. A grant is based on financial need, but it doesn’t need to be paid back like a loan.

A scholarship is also a type of grant. Many scholarships are merit-based and require that applicants have an excellent academic record, a high score on the ACT or SAT, or a high grade point average, usually 3.0 or above, or other criteria. The winner of a scholarship may be determined on merit alone, or on merit and financial need.

Some grants are open to all high school graduates and college undergraduates, while others are reserved for women, minorities, students studying a particular subject, going to a certain college, or living in a particular region.

Grants Based on Income

The Pell Grant is given by the government designed for low-income students.


To qualify for a Pell Grant, must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment undergraduate in the school of your choice, and haven't yet earned any undergraduate or professional degree,

You must also demonstrate financial need and be a U.S. citizen with a valid social security number or a qualified non-citizen. You'll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

A Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/grants-scholarships/fseog) (FSEOG) is given to students with exceptional financial need. Schools receive a certain amount of FSEOG money each year; once that money has been awarded there isn’t any available til the next school year.

Subject Specific (Academic and Vocational)

No matter what your major is, you’ll probably be able to find an undergraduate grant or scholarship to apply for and possibly help defray some of the cost of your education. Whether you’re studying English, science, mathematics, library sciences, social sciences, a foreign language, architecture or another academic subject, you should be able to find several grants or scholarships open to your particular situation.

Vocational and technical colleges accept (and offer) grants, too, and you’ll find grants for automotive repair, heating/air conditioning repair, cosmetology, plumbing contractors and other trades.

Here are a few examples of subject specific grants -

Undergraduate psychology (http://www.learnpsychology.org/resources/scholarships-and-financial-aid/) majors can choose from grants and scholarships from foundations, the National Institute of Health and other private and public agencies.

Budding architects can apply for one of the grants offered by the Architect’s Foundation (https://architectsfoundation.org/education/) Some of these grants are open to all undergraduate architects, while others are reserved for women or minority applicants.

The National Society of Accountants (http://www.nsacct.org/about/nsa-scholarship-foundation) (NSA) offers scholarships for students enrolled in a two-year or four-year accounting program. Applicants must have a B average or higher and exhibit financial need.

Minority Grants

Minority undergraduate grants designed for African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian American students or other groups, and may be subdivided into a particular subject (i.e. Hispanic Teachers). The United Negro College Fund (https://scholarships.uncf.org/) offers grants and scholarships for African-American students from a variety of sources.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) (http://www.rmhc.org/rmhc-us-scholarships) offers four scholarships – the RMHC/African-American Future Achievers for African-American students, the RMHC/Asia for Asian-American students, and the RMHC Hacer for Hispanic American students. The organization also offers the RMHC Scholars award, which is open to all undergrads regardless of race or ethnic background.

Undergraduate Grants by State

All states offer grants for low-income college students. If you live in California, ( http://www.csac.ca.gov/doc.asp?id=48

) you can apply for a Cal Grant by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act application by March 2nd of every year you want to apply.

Minnesota State Grants (https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=138) help low and moderate-income families pay for tuition and other expenses at Minnesota colleges and universities. Students must fill out the FADSA or Minnesota Dream Act application to start the process.

Check your state's website for information on applicable state grants for undergraduates for relevant colleges and universities.

Woman’s Grants

Grants for women are designed to help women enter fields in which they are underrepresented (like math, IT and science) or make it easier for low-income or minority women to go to college or vocational school. The National Black Nurses Association (http://www.nbna.org/content.asp?contentid=82) Scholarship provides annual scholarships for nursing professionals with at least one full year of nursing school remaining.

The Society of Women Engineers (http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/scholarships) offers scholarships for women pursuing bachelors or graduate degrees in engineering, computer science or engineering technology. In 2016, the organization awarded 230 new and returning scholarships.

Other grants are geared to an even more specific subset of women. The Sunshine Lady Foundation ( http://www.sunshinelady.org/?page_id=5 ) offers undergraduate grants for victims of domestic abuse.

Increase Your Chances of Getting Undergraduate Grants

Acquaint yourself with the application and search process long before you graduate from high school. Research and prepare for grants and scholarships as soon as you know what major interests you. The earlier you apply the better chance you'll have of getting a grant or scholarship. You'll avoid last minute rush jobs and mistakes on applications, and won't apply to grants you don't qualify for because you didn't read the instructions carefully.

Don’t limit yourself to one category – apply for academic and merit-based grants if you have the grades, financial aid grants, athletic or creative grants, and subject-specific or minority grants.

Colleges and private organizations and the government offer thousands of grants available. Don't sell yourself short and apply for one or two there are lots of students out there and most students require some financial aid. In 2014-2015, about two-thirds of college students received some form of financial aid, (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/financial-aid-101/financial-aid-faqs) with 57% in the form of grants.

If a grant or scholarship application requires a letter of recommendation from a teacher or mentor, ask for a letter from one or more of your teachers early in the process, and include a student resume to highlight your achievements.

When considering which grants to apply for, don’t go for the highest award amounts and neglect lower offerings. Every award counts. Apply for as many grants or scholarships as you can, without sacrificing the quality of the submission. With 75% of college students (your competition) applying for financial, it will increase your chances of receiving a grant.

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