Applying for Grants & Fellowships
Last updated January 23, 2023
Paying for college or any post-high school education can feel overwhelming. While borrowing money through student loans is one way to pay for college, other forms of financial aid like grants and fellowships are also available to students - and they often don't need to be paid back! Just like any financial aid, it's important to do your research before applying. This includes making sure you are eligible for a grant or fellowship, as well as being aware of important deadlines and application requirements like references, essays, and more. Here's a rundown of what grants and fellowships are, where to find them, and how to apply for them!
What is a grant?
Grants are a form of financial aid that do not need to be repaid. Grants are most often awarded by the federal government, state/local governments, schools, or private organizations. Grants are often awarded based on specific criteria such as income status, demographics, or even areas of study or passion. Overwhelmingly, grants are awarded based on need, as opposed to some scholarships, which may be based on academic or athletic achievement.
How can I find and apply for grants?
The first step to receiving all kinds of financial aid is to complete your FAFSA! Once your FAFSA is complete, you will receive your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which will be key to learning your eligibility for federal grants. Find a breakdown of different federal grants here.
You can and 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 to start your search. 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 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 (HBCU)
What is a fellowship?
A fellowship is 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 find or apply to 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, GoGrad and CareerOneStop also have great databases to begin your search!
Here's an example of a current fellowship opportunity:
- Join The Climate Corps as a Climate Fellow and become an outdoor educator and launch your career in sustainability
Remember: Get Schooled is here to be your personal support when you apply! Need someone to read your grant/fellowship essays? Submit it here for free review. Have any questions about grants and fellowships? Text #Hello to 33-55-77!