How Students Can Find Free Scholarships and Grants for Community College

by Jennifer Lewis

When it comes to seeking higher education, not everyone can afford a four-year public or private university right after high school. Community colleges offer an affordable opportunity to get some coursework under a student’s belt while also saving money. Even though community college may cost a fraction of a four-year school, it can be possible to save even more money by securing scholarships or grants.

  Community colleges allow students to earn degrees and professional certificates without paying as much money for tuition as they would for a four-year university. In addition, the credits earned at a community college will frequently transfer to many four-year schools. Applying for scholarships and grants can help students save even more money. Here are some of the best sources:

 *Jack Kent Cooke Foundation – Students planning on transferring from a community college to a four-year university may be eligible for a scholarship from the foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Awards can be as high as $30,000 per year for each student and up to 50 scholarships can be given each year. The funds typically are used to pay for the large ongoing expenses of a student’s education. In order to qualify, a student first must be nominated by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Faculty Representative, so it can be beneficial to become acquainted with that individual.

 *Hispanic Scholarship Fund – This group offers more than 30 different scholarships with varying eligibility requirements so there is something for just about any Hispanic community college or transfer student.

 *Pell Grant – Students that can demonstrate a significant financial need may be eligible for a Pell Grant, which is administered by the federal government. In order to apply, students must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which can be found online. Part-time students are also eligible, though they may receive a reduced amount compared to those going full time.

 *State programs – Many state governments or state colleges offer scholarships to community college students as a way to entice them to transfer to their four-year program. Contact the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available.

 *Local civic groups – Check with local civic groups in the area, such as the Rotary or Optimist clubs. They are designed to raise money to improve their community and frequently offer scholarships. Their eligibility requirements likely will vary from one to the other.

 Just because community college costs much less than a four-year university does not mean a student shouldn’t look for more ways to save money. By seeking out scholarships the groundwork for a higher education can be laid out while leaving open the possibility of transferring to a four-year program later and earning a degree there. The money that is saved can be used to offset costs later, keeping a student from incurring too much debt while pursuing a college degree.


This post was written by Jennifer Lewis

Jennifer Lewis writes for a site that has information on financial aid for female students, including college scholarships for Hispanic women and federal grants for women. She thinks community college students should take some time to find out what extra help may be available to them.

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