The number of Colorado residents seeking to better themselves through higher education is increasing along with the need for financial assistance. For some, a student loan may not be enough and additional funds must be sought through government-sponsored grants and scholarships.
Grants are different from loans in that grants do not have to be paid back. There are many grants and scholarships available but there are a limited amount of spots and the competition is fierce with ever increasing budget cuts limiting availability. Grants and scholarships can be used for public, private, trade and online schools for expenses pertaining to tuition, books, fees, room, board, and supplies.
Many times, applicants are approved on a first-come, first-served basis. Grants and scholarships come from various sources: the federal government, state and local government, colleges and universities, private organizations, and community and non-profit organizations. It is important to read through and understand the directions and requirements for every grant scholarship application as the process varies depending on where the money is coming from.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step towards receiving most federal and state financial assistance. To apply for the FAFSA:
Pell Grants are offered to low-income undergraduate students and the amount of money awarded ranges from $555.00 to $5,550 yearly. Eligibility is determined by information provided on the FAFSA application, cost to attend college, and whether the applicant plans on attending school full- or part-time.
Students who have lost a parent or guardian while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible to receive the full grant amount if they are under the age of 24, and enrolled at least part-time.
Funds are dispersed by the institution in intervals throughout the year, typically once a semester or term. To apply for a Pell Grant you must:
The FSEOG Grant is another low-income federal grant for undergraduates and may be awarded in conjunction with the Pell Grant. Eligibility is determined by information provided on the FAFSA application. The school contributes one dollar for every three dollars the federal government distributes to the FSEOG program and the recipient is awarded amounts ranging from $100 and $4,000, depending on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or how much money an applicant or guardian is expected to pay toward a college education for one year. In order to qualify:
The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National Smart Grant) is designed to give low-income students studying high-demand majors access to the level of education and structure needed to be highly qualified for high wage careers.
The program is limited to third and fourth-year undergraduate students or fifth-year students enrolled in a five-year program. The grant is awarded to eligible Pell Grant recipients in Colorado declaring the following majors:
The National Smart Grant has a $4,000 maximum and comes with stipulations. In order to avoid paying the grant back, recipients must maintain a 3.0 GPA in the required fields and the Pell Grant and SMART Grant combined can not be more than the cost of attendance. A standard formula is used in determining eligible students and is based on the following criteria:
The LEAP Grant is funded by each state, the federal government, and the Department of Education for students with demonstrated financial need. There are two LEAP programs available to Colorado students: the SLEAP Grant and the CLEAP grant.
The SLEAP Grant gives financial assistance to low-income students wanting to attend post-secondary schools and is funded through the LEAP program. Grant amounts are between $500.00 and $1,500.00 and may be targeted to specific programs. To apply, complete the FAFSA application and fulfill the following requirements:
The Colorado Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Grant (CLEAP) is also part of the LEAP program and eligibility is awarded to low-income undergraduate students. Grant amounts vary because funding is limited. The CLEAP Grant can be applied for by completing the FAFSA application.
Contact the Colorado Department of Education at (303) 866-2723 or at the website, highered.colorado.gov, for program eligibility and current award amounts.
Offered to post-secondary students that are in financial need, the Colorado College Responsibility Student Grant (formerly the Colorado Student Grant) is awarded to undergraduates and is funded jointly by the state and federal government.
Eligibility is determined by information provided on the FAFSA application and the amount awarded depends on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with a maximum cap of $600 per semester. In order to qualify the following requirements must be met:
The Critical Colorado Career Graduate Grant (formerly the College Graduate Grant) is also based on the FAFSA application information. A maximum of $5,000 is awarded for educational students studying to teach in a high-need field. In order to qualify, students must meet the following requirements:
The Dependents Tuition Assistance Program is available for dependents of law enforcement, firefighters, and National Guard personnel who have been disabled or killed in the line of duty. Applications are available at the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Contact Margot Plotz at 303-866-2723 for more details.
The National Guard Assistance program pays up to 100% of tuition cost for members of the National Guard. Not all institutions accept this program so contact a Colorado National Guard recruiter or a local Air Guard recruiter at (866) 462-6264, or the state tuition assistance office at (303) 677-8913 for an application and complete list of participating schools.
Students who have lost a parent serving in the U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq or Afghanistan are eligible to receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. The parent or guardian must have died after September 11, 2001, and not eligible for the Pell Grant. Eligibility is determined by the FAFSA application. The eligibility requirements are:
If you are in a minority class (ethnic minority, a woman, disabled, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgendered) the federal government, state and local government, major companies, non-profit and community organizations provide educational grants and scholarships for Colorado’s minority students seeking higher education.
The grants are in place to ensure that financially disadvantaged minorities receive equal education opportunities. In addition to federal funds, there are several entities and businesses that contribute to minorities based on financial need and other criteria. Several major companies sponsor local and national minority grants and scholarships.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds The Gates Millennium College Scholarship (GMS) which awards talented minority students with good-through-graduation scholarships at the educational institute of their choice. The GMS supports 1,000 students in obtaining undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as mentor them along the way.
The program is available to high school seniors, college sophomores, juniors and seniors, and graduate students. The eligibility requirements include:
The grant is awarded for the following majors:
For more information, call (877) 690-4677 or visit the GMSP web site: www.gmsp.org.
Information regarding the Gates Millennium College Scholarship (GMS) is also available through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the American Indian College Fund, The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF).
The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) has been in existence since 1944 and is the most distinguished organization supporting education for African Americans. It provides grants, scholarships, and fellowships for students that attend predominantly black colleges and also contributes to African American educational programs and organizations on a local level.
For more information and a complete list of available financial options, contact the The United Negro College Fund at 800-331-2244 or at the UNCF website www.uncf.org.
Although Hispanics are great in number, they are under-represented on college campuses and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) helps in giving productive Spanish speaking individuals access to a college education. The HSF is the nationís leading Hispanic higher education fund and offers scholarships, outreach and educational programs to prepare students for college expectations.
To contact the Hispanic Scholarship Fund: www.hsf.net.
Latin America Educational Foundation is dedicated to improving educational opportunities for Coloradoís Hispanic community. In order to qualify for educational financial assistance, the applicant must:
For more information contact the LAEF at (303) 446-0541, or at their website: www.laef.org.
The American Indian College Fund encourages college education accessibility while encouraging cultural awareness and community pride. There are over 250 federally recognized tribes in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada and 30 accredited tribal colleges and universities that are supported by this organization.
Although there are no tribal colleges located in Colorado, any verified and documented member of an American Indian tribe can qualify for many of the higher learning scholarships and long distance learning programs that not only support students, but faculty and staff as well. The college has been recognized and supported by NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.
For detailed eligibility and tribal verification requirements, please visit www.finaid.org.
For more information regarding available scholarships, contact your financial aid office, the American Indian College Fund at 800-776-3863, or at their website, www.collegefund.org.
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) provides financial assistance for Pacific Islander and Asian Americans who want to attend college but lack the funds to do so. The APIASF scholarships range from $2,500 to $5,000 and are supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is known for supporting education for everyone regardless of ethnicity and financial circumstances.
In order to qualify for the APIASF Scholarship, you must:
One application qualifies an applicant to all of these APIASF scholarship opportunities:
For more information regarding the APIASF’s scholarship programs and application process, visit APIASF’s website site at www.apiasf.org.
The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) has been encouraging black women to go into the nursing profession since 1971. The NBNA maintains a list of scholarship opportunities from notable businesses and organizations, one of which is the Gannett Healthcare Group Scholarship.
Gannett Co., Inc., historically supports and improves the communities in which it does business by sponsoring non-profit community organizations. KUSA-TV and the Fort Collins Coloradoan are both owned by the Gannett Co., Inc. The scholarship amount varies ranging from $500-$2,000.
The following requirements are needed to complete the NBNA Scholarship:
The Colorado chapter of the NBNA, the Eastern Colorado Council of Black Nurses offers the Mary Russell Scholarship, named after one of the founders of the Colorado Council of Black Nurses. Eligible students can receive $500 to attend accredited nursing programs and applications are accepted throughout the year and awarded each fall.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) awards academically gifted minority students with the AICPA Minority Scholarship program. The $3,000 award comes with stipulations and is for outstanding undergraduate and graduate minority students who are pursuing a CPA.
In order to qualify, the applicant must:
For more scholarship opportunities and additional program information, visit the AICPA website at thiswaytocpa.com.
White Rose Scholarship Foundation assists Colorado’s GLBT community in furthering their education and career options. The scholarship is part of the Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire and awards up to $2,500.
To more information regarding the application process, please visit www.denvercourt.org.
Qualified educators are a critical and dwindling resource in our educational system because of constant budget cuts and the rights and authority of teachers being stifled. This has created a crippling domino effect on the quantity and quality of public education in low-income areas in Colorado.
The TEACH Grant was created by Congress in 2007 to attract students seeking an education degree to lower-income public and private schools to teach in high-needs courses. The maximum amount given is $4,000 and comes with contractual obligations that must be completed or the grant becomes a permanent loan and must be paid back with interest.
The grant is awarded by the individual college and comes from donations so the grant may be under a variety of different names. The following high-needs areas are available for Colorado students:
The grant requirements are as follows:
In addition, the TEACH Grant agreement requires that participants:
The Educational Foundation of the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants offers scholarships to accounting majors at accredited Colorado educational institutes. Scholarships of $2,500 are awarded to undergraduate and graduate students that meet the following eligibility requirements:
The scholarship application is available on the CSCPA website at www.want2bcpa.com.
For inquiries, please contact the CSCPA office at (303) 773-2877 or (800) 523-9082.
The Greenhouse Scholars Scholarship is designed for overachieving students that have gone through challenging situations and have a high degree of financial need. The program is to provide access and support so that they may continue to thrive and succeed in their communities.
Award winners can receive up to $5,000 and the grant is renewable for four years. In addition, the recipient will have access to peer support groups, mentors, internship support, and professional liaisons. Scholars may also attend the annual Summer Symposiums.
To be considered eligible for the Greenhouse Scholars program, you must meet the following requirements:
The application must be submitted online and is available at www.greenhousescholars.org.