Grants and Scholarships - What are they and how can they help?

Grants and scholarships-what are they and how can they help?

If you think you can’t afford school, think again.

Whether you’re looking at technical, trade, associates, or good old fashioned-four-year college, the process in applying for school can be overwhelming, especially the financial process. Financial aid is money lent or given to you to help you pay for school.

Grants and scholarships are kinds of financial aid that you don’t have to pay back.

Yep, that’s FREE MONEY. That’s why they’re sometimes referred to as “gift aid.” Pretty cool, huh?

Grants and Scholarships - What are they and how can they help?

All kinds of students get gift aid. Most grants are awarded based on financial need. But a good portion of gift aid is awarded for academic achievement or for having a record of good financial habits.

Grants and scholarships rarely cover the entire cost of college. However, many schools’ financial services team will work with you to find a payment that will work with your current income level.

Grants and Scholarships Defined

The terms “scholarship” and “grant” are often used interchangeably, but there are usually differences between these two forms of aid.

Most scholarships are merit-based. This means that they are awarded to students with certain qualities, such as proven academic or athletic ability. Many scholarships have rules — maintaining a certain GPA, for example — that you have to follow to continue receiving aid.

Most grants are need-based. This means that they are usually awarded based on your or your family’s financial situation.

DID YOU KNOW that postsecondary students (those that continued training after high school) received a total of $123.8 billion in scholarships and grants in 2014-2015 (according to Big Future).

That doesn’t just come from the school, itself. Actually 37% of this free money comes from the federal government and, to qualify, you need to fill out the FAFSA.

Sources of Grants and Scholarships

Both grants and scholarships come from the government, colleges, or private organizations like labor unions or religious centers. For the scope of this article, we’ll focus on the first two.


Federal and state governments are sources of gift aid.

  • The federal government is the largest source of need-based gift aid, primarily in the form of the Pell Grant.
  • State governments often fund grants and scholarships for residents attending college in their state.


Many colleges offer grants and scholarships to their students.

  • These may be merit-based or need-based, or a combination of the two.
  • Colleges may have stricter requirements for keeping a scholarship than do other sources of scholarships.

Take a look at a couple of the scholarships and grants that SCI offers exclusively to its students*:

Career Opportunity Grant — Offered for specific start dates and programs, this grant makes going back to school easier by lowering tuition by as much as $4,000 for those who qualify.

Southern Careers Institute Military Grant — Based on the cost of the program of study, this grant is for military members and their families (Active, Veteran, or Retired) and can help lower costs by as much as $2,000.

Three Steps to Tap into Grants and Scholarships

To apply for grants and scholarships, you’ll most likely have to fill out financial aid forms such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®. Outside scholarships usually have their own application forms and application processes.

1. Complete the FAFSA

You must fill out the FAFSA to qualify for federal aid. Many states and colleges use the FAFSA to award aid as well.

2. Find Out What Financial Aid Forms Your College Requires

Apply for SCI’s programs by clicking here. An admissions representative will get in touch!

3. Research and Apply for Outside Scholarships

Start by talking with your school counselor or admissions representative about how to find outside scholarships. Read Where to Find College Scholarships for more tips.

An Offer Your Future Can’t Refuse

Every now and again, SCI is offers exclusive new grants that are offered for a limited time. Currently, we have one that helps lower your payments to as little as $35 a month.* This deal won’t last long, so get in touch with us today to see how we can prepare you for a career and lifestyle that you deserve. Apply now.

*Grants are available for those who qualify. For more information and a list of our 2017 grants and scholarships, see our 2017 course catalog here.

Thanks to The College Board’s Big Future, the Basics of Scholarships & Grants for many of the resources outlined above.

Grants and scholarships–what are they and how can they help?
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Grants and scholarships–what are they and how can they help?
The process in applying for school can be overwhelming, especially the financial process. Learn about the types of financial aid that help you pay for school.
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Southern Careers Institute
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