How To Find Grants For College

By Danielle Wirsansky on August 20, 2021

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It is a well-known fact that college is very expensive. Many students end up taking out student loans in order to pay for it. According to Forbes, “The latest student loan debt statistics for 2021 show that there are 45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $1.7 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. Student loan debt is now the second-highest consumer debt category — second only to mortgage debt and higher than debt for both credit cards and auto loans.”

To avoid falling into student loan debt, many students take the time to look for scholarships. However, there is another option besides scholarships that students tend to overlook. This option is grants. Market Business News defines a grant as “a quantity of money, i.e., financial assistance, given by a government, organization, or person for a specific purpose.” What makes a grant more beneficial than a student loan is that generally, you do not have to pay back the money you have been awarded.

Grants can take a huge financial load off of your back. But how and where can you find them? Read on for some tips on where to look and how to find grants for college!

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University Office of Financial Aid

The first place to check is always your university’s office of financial aid. A lot of students think that whatever financial aid a school offers upon accepting them is all that a school is willing to and able to give them. This is not necessarily true. A university almost always has scholarships and grants available to eligible students—only the students have to do the work of applying for them.

Instead of being freely given, most grants do have an application process. This might dissuade some students from even applying. And because few people know to check out grants, the application pool is even smaller. So even if it feels like there is no way you could win a grant, you might be pleasantly surprised.  The school is looking to give the money away and if you fit the criteria, you actually have a good chance of winning. Do not let the work of putting together an application packet stop you from applying for and winning grants!

Departmental Financial Aid

If your university at large does not have any good fits for you (or even if it does and you just want more options), take a look at the grants that your specific department may offer. Each department has scholarships and grants they must award to students or risk having the money taken away. It might be easier to find a grant that you are specifically eligible for if it is one being offered by your department.

If you are still an exploratory major and do not quite belong to any department yet, definitely check out the funding offered by the departments you are interested in. You might prefer to join a department with plenty of grant and funding opportunities for you to apply for than one that offers no options for support for their students.

Funding Databases

If you want to look outside what your university offers, you should check out scholarship and grant databases. These take all of the hard work out of searching for grant and scholarship options and instead have them all gathered in one place.

Many funding databases actually have filtering options so that you can easily weed out opportunities that are not a good fit for you. For example, if you are a grad student, you do not want to look at opportunities that are exclusively for undergraduate students and vice versa.

Fastweb

Fastweb is one such funding database you should check out. It is an online service to help students pay for college through scholarships, financial aid, part-time job search, grants, and private student loan options.

There is no fee to use Fastweb (score!) and you can build a profile on the site that helps you find funding opportunities that are particularly relevant to you and filter out opportunities that you are not eligible for.

Pivot Proquest

Pivot Proquest is another funding database option, known as an easy-to-use keyword-searchable database for finding current funding opportunities specifically tailored to research needs. You must make an account and then save opportunities that you are interested in applying for. Doing so will set up a system of funding alerts that will help you stay on track to submit your grant applications on time, which is certainly helpful.

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There are lots of ways to get funded, if only you know where and how to look. Utilizing the tips listed above will help you to find more opportunities, which in turn, means you will have a higher likelihood of actually being awarded one of these grants. Good luck with your grant application process!

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