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Applying for Grants & Fellowships

Last updated February 15, 2022

Paying for college or any post-high school education can cost a lot and it can feel overwhelming. While borrowing money through loans is one way to pay for it, grants and fellowships are often money that you do not need to pay back!

Just like any college application, it is so important to do your research before applying. This includes making sure you are eligible for the grant or fellowship, deadlines, requirements, references needed, essay requirements, etc. Basically: be prepared!

Here is a run down of what grants and fellowships are, and how to find them.

applying for grants and fellowships

What is a grant?

Grants are a form of aid that do not need to be repaid, in most all cases. Grants are most often awarded by the federal government, state/local governments, schools, and private organizations. Grants are often awarded based on specific criteria such as income status, demographics, or even areas of study. Overwhelmingly, grants are awarded based on need (as opposed to some scholarships which may be based on academic or athletic achievement).

How can I apply or find grants?

The first step in all student aid is to fill out your FAFSA! Once you have your FAFSA completed, you will receive your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which will be key to finding out your eligibility for federal grants . Here is a great breakdown of the different federal grants. You should also research what types of grants your state offers. Every state in the US has some type of grant or student aid program - we recommend checking out the Department of Education and The College Investor’s list. Finally, be sure to research the website of the specific schools or programs you are interested in or enrolling in, because they may have specific information for students coming to their programs. Here are two cool examples of current grant opportunities:

  • Apply for a TEACH Grant if you’re planning on becoming a teacher
  • Apply to the UNCF for a grant if you’re planning on attending an Historically Black College or University

What is a fellowship?

A fellowship is often a short-term program that usually lasts a few months, but sometimes can last over a year. Fellowship programs are often for students who are more advanced in their studies or have a speciality in mind. A fellowship is centered around the professional development of each “fellow” and is usually sponsored by a school or specific department within the school. This may include increased responsibility, but also more one-on-one development, a stipend, and sometimes even health insurance.

How can I apply or find fellowships?

If you are already enrolled in college or a specific educational program, research your institution to see if they offer any types of fellowships or internships- UC Berkeley and GoGrad have great databases to begin your search!

One more amazing resource for grants, fellowships, and opportunities across jobs and college and beyond is CareerOneStop - you can search for scholarships, grants, fellowships and more on their database! Here are two cool examples of current fellowship opportunities:

Remember: Get Schooled is here to be your personal support when you apply! Want someone to  read your grant/fellowship essays? Be sure to join our community by texting #Hello to 33-55-77. 

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