Grants & Scholarships

There's nothing better than free money, and these articles can help you get grants and scholarships for your community college education. Acquire information on Pell grants and why you should take advantage of them, learn how you can earn money through community college writing and get the latest news on scholarships and funding.
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Community college students in California who are struggling to make ends meet and pay their tuition bills may get a boost this academic year. The Foundation for California Community Colleges has set up a permanent scholarship fund of nearly $68 million to provide students with the financial aid they need to continue their education. The endowment fund is a culmination of three years of fundraising work that started with a gift from the Bernard Osher Foundation.

About the Scholarship
 
Three years ago, the Bernard Osher Foundation gave the Foundation for California Community Colleges a gift of $25 million to begin a scholarship fund for community college students. According to a press release on the Foundation for California Community Colleges website, the Bernard Osher Foundation was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, as a means of supporting higher education and the arts. In addition to the initial gift, the foundation also promised to match funds raised by the colleges themselves.
 
The L.A. Times reports that California’s 112 community colleges worked together for three years to raise $28.5 million for the scholarship fund. This allowed the Bernard Osher Foundation to contribute an additional $14.2 million to the endowment, which brought the grand total in the scholarship fund to $67.7 million. The scholarship fund is designed to provide financial aid to thousands of California community college students annually.
 
According to a report in the San Francisco Business Times, this fund is the biggest system-wide community college endowment in . . . read more

As the illegal immigration debate continues to rage, another aspect of the issue comes into light. A community college in California has set up a scholarship fund that is available to illegal immigrants, as well as legal residents of the United States, according to a report on Fox News.

While the foundation responsible for the scholarship is receiving a considerable amount of flack, it turns out there are other scholarship avenues for illegal immigrants to explore as well.
 
The Immigration Question
 
Most immigrant students seeking scholarship money hold green cards or have permanent residency in this country. However, there are also numerous illegal immigrants who have been brought into this country by their parents and grew up as Americans, even if they don't have the documentation to prove it. Much discussion has begun over whether these students are entitled to any type of financial aid to help pay for their higher education.
 
The immigration debate has been fueled by both new Arizona legislation and increasing concerns over border security. Fox News reports on a recent alert sent out by the Department of Homeland Security regarding a Somali man with terror ties who the agency believes is trying to cross the Mexican border into the United States.
 
Controversy at Santa Ana College
 
The recent announcement of a new memorial scholarship at Santa Ana College in honor of former student Tan Ngoc Tran has sparked additional furor. Tran was a student leader and immigrant-rights activist who graduated from Santa . . . read more

Are you taking full advantage of your financial aid opportunities?   If you have not yet applied for the Pell Grant, then you may be missing out on millions in federal funding that is currently being unused.  In fact, in California alone, more than 500,000 community college students were eligible for the Pell Grant, but simply did not apply for it, according to the Institute for College Access and Success

As a grant, the Pell Grant does not need to be repaid, making it one of the best financial aid opportunities. In addition, the Obama administration plans to inject another $40 billion into the program, as reported by the Washington Post.
 
Understanding the Pell Grant
 
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Pell Grant is a needs-based program that provides financial aid to low-income undergraduate students. You are eligible for the grant if you have not yet received a bachelor’s degree or another professional degree, and if you meet financial criteria based upon several factors:

  •   Expected family contribution
  •   Family size
  •   Student’s income 
  •   Cost of attending the community college
  •   Enrollment status and timeline
In roughly evaluating whether or not you would qualify for the Pell Grant, 57% of Pell Grant recipients in 2005 – 2006 had family incomes of less than $20,000 annually, while 90% of Pell Grant recipients in 1999 – 2000 were from families with income less than $41,000 per year. However, if your family income is less than $60,000, you are technically eligible for Pell Grants.   
 
As “free” money, the Pell Grant . . . read more

If you have a passion for prose, you can earn money by putting your writing talents to good use - even while you attend community college. Whether you enjoy composing essays or creative pieces, autobiographies or non-fiction work, community college students can participate in writing competitions to not only be published, but to earn accolades, gifts, and monetary prizes as well. Some national competitions exist, but many more local competitions are available at community colleges across the country.
 
National Contest - Norman Mailer Community College Writing Award
 
Each year, the Norman Mailer Center, the Writers Colony, and the National Council of Teachers of English co-sponsor a national essay contest for community college students. The contest is specifically for authors of creative non-fiction writing. The competition is open to all full-time students at community colleges, technical schools, and junior colleges across the nation. The winner of the contest receives a $2,500 cash award, as well as free travel and lodging to attend the Writers Colony award ceremony.


 
Contest submissions are reviewed by a panel of teachers and writers who judge the entries on the artful treatment of originality, subject matter, voice, and style. Additionally, judges examine the entry’s overall aesthetic and emotional impact. Finalists selected by the panel will have their work reviewed by a distinguished author or panel of authors who . . . read more

A scholarship is a great way to pay for part or all of your community college education. Whether you have a special talent, have outstanding grades, are a member of a minority group, or have a financial need, there's a good chance that you may qualify for one or more scholarships that will help you pay for your education. There are a number of different types of scholarships available. For example, some scholarships are awarded to students for volunteering and for performing community service. Other scholarships aim to help students going into specific areas of study, such as education. Still other scholarships seek to help students who have experienced some kind of hardship, such as the loss of a job.
 
Many scholarship sponsors look at various outstanding qualifications as their award criteria, so you don't have to be a straight-A student to qualify for some scholarships. In fact, there are a number of unconventional scholarships out there, such as ones for creativity, charity work, as well as skills in writing, photography, or dance. Exceptional scholars and average students alike should consider applying to those scholarships that best fit their grades, needs and talents.
 
Merit-Based Scholarships
 
Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students with a track record of outstanding academic performance. In order to be considered for a merit-based scholarship, a student must meet certain requirements such as a minimum GPA or minimum standardized test scores. This type of scholarship tends to be highly competitive, however, some community colleges offer automatic scholarships to encourage . . . read more
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GRANTS & SCHOLARSHIPS