Getting grants for school can be straightforward if you’re able to take advantage of the many shortage areas in our current job market. With the economy still struggling to recover and jobs hard to come by, getting a grant to go back to school might be the best way to hone your skills for future employment. The trick is finding the right grants to get where you want to be.
Understanding Grants for Schools
Grants for schools aren’t free money – although they are billed that way in advertisements. There is a cost associated with grants, although it is not a financial one. A grant is an amount of money that is offered to you with strings attached. You have to do something to get the money – often it’s working in a particular career field for a period of time. For example, if you’re interested in becoming a teacher, you might qualify for a teaching grant.
You’d get the money, often
thousands of dollars, to pay for your schooling or certification process
if you already have a degree. Once you have accepted the money toward
your teaching certification, you have to start working as a teacher for a
period of time, often in a particular area. Many teaching grants are
tied to math and science or special education and English as a second
language (ESL) positions. If you fail to meet the obligations for your
grant, you’ll be required to repay the grant amount, usually in
installments, much like you would a student loan.
Finding Grants for School
If you’re trying to find a grant program to work with, your first stop might be the financial counselors at the local college you’re considering attending. If you’re already in school, the finance office is able to tell you what you need to do in order to apply for various grants as well as telling you which grants are offered through programs you’re already in.
Since so many grants are tied to specific programs and requirements, you can often use books and websites that offer grant specifics to find the information you’re seeking. If you’re interested in becoming a certified nursing assistant in Florida, for example, there are many grant programs being offered by the state government as well as by individual companies within the cities and suburbs anxious to fill the huge need for qualified medical workers in the state.
If you’re still deciding on a field to study, you’ll have far better luck seeking grants in areas where there is a shortage or a need. Often these are programs that aren’t the most common field of study. For example, there are many more grant programs for pure science majors than there are for communications or business majors. Math grants are much easier to come by than English or history ones. You can find a grant in any subject area, but those in popular areas are much more sought after making them harder to claim.
Using Grants for School
If you do find a grant and are able to take advantage of it, treat your obligation with care. A grant with a one or two year stipulation for work is much easier to deal with than a grant that requires you to work five or more years in a particular area. Life changes and career decisions can affect your ability to meet the requirements of the grant. The less stipulations on the grant, the better, but at the very least, only accept a grant whose conditions you can live with.