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Scholarships and Grants for Unemployed and Low-Income Students

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Dec 7, 2020 ·
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Having a postsecondary education is incredibly valuable. Whether you choose to take the four-year college route or gain hands-on training at a trade school, choosing an education beyond high school is a great way to help set yourself up for long-term career success.

While continuing education can open new doors and increase your earning potential, it comes with a price tag. Balancing this in addition to life’s other expenses can be challenging and, for some, might not seem possible. The good news is, there are ways you may be able to save on your education in the form of scholarships and grants.

Both scholarships and grants are essentially funds that can be used toward education-related expenses.10 If you’re asking yourself, “How do I go back to school if I have no money?” looking into scholarships and grants may be well worth your time.

There are thousands of scholarships and grants available, so finding ones to apply for can be an overwhelming process. We’ve put together a guide that will walk you through different types of scholarships and grants for unemployed and low-income students. Let’s get started!

Scholarships vs. Grants: What’s the Difference?

Both scholarships and grants provide students with money they can use toward their education. In most cases, this money doesn’t need to be repaid.

While scholarships and grants are often used interchangeably, there are key differences to note:

  • Scholarships are often made available based on merit, such as athletic and academic achievements. Sometimes need is a factor, but a particular talent tends to be the basis. Universities, governments and corporations are a few examples of scholarship presenters.
  • Grants are typically made available based on a student’s financial need. They are given by colleges and universities, and the federal and state governments. For the most part, grants don’t need to be repaid, but there are some instances in which they do. Your school will notify you if you must repay part of your grant.

Now that we’ve defined these two terms, let’s dive into specific scholarships and grants. Keep in mind that many of these opportunities can apply to both unemployed and low-income students, and this list represents a small fraction of the scholarships and grants available.

Grants for Unemployed Students

If you’re currently unemployed and are looking to go back to school, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance through grants.

While there are many grants available for younger students who are just starting their careers, there are also grants for older students looking to further their education to meet their career goals.

Here’s a quick look at available grants to go back to school for unemployed people:

  • Federal Pell Grant: One of the most common grants available, the Federal Pell Grant is open to students of all ages, gender and income. This grant is available to students with demonstrated financial need and who have not completed their postsecondary education. To learn more, check out this guide to Pell Grants.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG): A FSEOG is similar to a Pell Grant but limited to participating schools. If your school receives funds to support FSEOGs, contact its financial aid office or check its website to ensure you don’t miss the application deadline. The earlier you apply, the better!
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program: The FWS program gives students on-campus jobs so they can earn money to help pay for their educational expenses.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants: These grants are awarded to students whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11. To learn more about additional requirements and how to apply, visit the studentaid.gov website.
  • CollegeAmerica Adult Student Grants: CollegeAmerica offers $5,000 grants to adults who have never attended college or have earned some college credits but not a degree.
  • Program for Continuing Education: P.E.O. offers this grant to women to provide financial support for a certificate or degree they need for employment. The awarded amount is up to $3,000.
  • State-Specific Grants: In addition to federal programs, there are also state-funded programs designed to support low-income or unemployed adult learners looking to return to school. For example, the Lake/Geauga Educational Assistance Foundation (LEAF) provides grants to nontraditional students in Ohio. To find grants available in your state, visit the National Association of Student Aid Administrators website.

Scholarships for Unemployed Students

There are a variety of scholarships for adults going back to school. If you are currently unemployed and are exploring your options for schooling, here are a few opportunities that may be worth applying for:

  • Return2College (R2C): The R2C program makes available $1,000 each to select students to put toward their education. To apply, a short essay response is required.
  • Adult Students in Scholastic Transition: This scholarship was created to help adult students who are going through a transition in their lives, whether it’s being a single parent, a displaced employee or just entering the workforce. The amount awarded can vary anywhere from $250 to $2,500.
  • College JumpStart Scholarship: Designed for nontraditional students, this scholarship makes available $1,000 to those committed to improving the lives of themselves, their family and their community through education.
  • SuperCollege Scholarship: This annual random drawing offers $1,000 each to students pursuing higher education. The prize can be used to cover tuition, books or any other education-related costs.
  • $2,000 “No Essay” College Scholarship: This scholarship is just as simple as it sounds. After creating a profile with Niche.com, students can apply for the scholarship every month.
  • Unigo $10K Scholarship: An applicant for this scholarship must be a student at an accredited institution in the U.S. and answer a short prompt in 250 words or less. To learn more about the scholarship rules and requirements, visit the Unigo website.
  • TechForce Foundation: The TechForce Foundation makes more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants available to students attending trade schools like Universal Technical Institute (UTI).
  • Mike Rowe Works Foundation Work Ethic Scholarship Program: This program awards scholarships to students who demonstrate a strong work ethic in the skilled trades industries.

Grants for Low-Income Students

Depending on your income, you may be eligible for grant money to lower the cost of your education. Check out this list of low-income college grants, many of which are also great options for unemployed students.  

  • Federal Pell Grant: One of the most common grants available, the Federal Pell Grant is open to students of all ages, gender and income. This grant is available to students with demonstrated financial need and who have not completed their postsecondary education. To learn more, check out this guide to Pell Grants.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG): A FSEOG is similar to a Pell Grant but limited to participating schools. If your school receives funds to support FSEOGs, contact its financial aid office or check its website to ensure you don’t miss the application deadline. The earlier you apply, the better!
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program: The FWS program gives students on-campus jobs so they can earn money to help pay for their educational expenses.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants: These grants are awarded to students whose parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11. To learn more about additional requirements and how to apply, visit the studentaid.gov website.
  • CollegeAmerica Adult Student Grants: CollegeAmerica offers $5,000 grants to adults who have never attended college or have earned some college credits but not a degree.
  • AARP Foundation: Some grants are offered exclusively for women, such as those offered by the AARP Foundation. This program offers grants and funding to women older than 40 who are looking to finish their education.
  • CollegeAmerica Dependent Student Grant: CollegeAmerica offers a $5,000 grant designed for those who are not considered financially independent. To learn more about this and other grants offered by CollegeAmerica, visit its website.
  • Hispanic College Fund (HSF): This grant program was created for single Hispanic parents going back to school. Applicants must have a demonstrated financial need, as well as meet several other requirements such as being permanent residents in the state. To learn more and apply, visit the HSF website.
  • Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards: This program was created for women who are the primary source of financial support for themselves and their dependents. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and be enrolled or accepted into a vocational or undergraduate program.
  • State-Specific Grants: In addition to federal programs, there are also state-funded programs designed to support low-income or unemployed adult learners looking to return to school. To find grants available in your state, visit the National Association of Student Aid Administrators.

Scholarships for Low-Income Students

In addition to grants, there are also plenty of low-income scholarships. Here’s a list of opportunities that may be worth considering:

  • Imagine America Scholarships: Imagine America is a nonprofit organization that provides grants and scholarships for nontraditional students. The program was created for adults looking to return to school after some time working in a field. To learn about the various scholarships and grants available, visit their website.
  • Unmet Needs Scholarship: This program is designed to help low-income students cover the cost of their education. The scholarship is awarded based on need, and there’s a set of specific criteria that must be met to qualify. Visit the Sallie Mae website for more information.
  • Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund (JRF): The JRF scholarship provides support for low-income women ages 35 and older. The awarded funds can be used for technical or vocational education, or to pursue an associate degree or bachelor’s degree. Visit the Rankin Foundation’s website to learn more about eligibility and how to apply.
  • Working Parent College Scholarship Award: Awarded by Job-Applications.com, this scholarship helps working parents going back to school. To learn more and apply, visit the organization’s website.
  • Beacon Scholarship for Rural America: This scholarship helps low-income students living in rural areas. Three $1,000 scholarships are awarded every year, and graduating high school seniors, current college students and adult students are eligible to apply.
  • AFCEA Scholarship for Working Professionals: The AFCEA offers several scholarships for those who work and attend college part-time. Learn more on the AFCEA website.
  • Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE): More than $100,000 in scholarships have been made available. ANTSHE offers a variety of scholarships for nontraditional students looking to return to school. Information can be found on its website.
  • HotelPlanner.com Graduate Technology Scholarship: HotelPlanner offers scholarships to military veterans and their families. Applicants must demonstrate financial need in addition to completing an essay about their career interests.
  • Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Awards: This award supports mothers of minor children who are pursuing their first degree. To qualify, they must demonstrate low-income status based on the number of people in their household.

Tips for Applying

When applying for scholarships and grants, it’s important to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward. This will help to increase your chances of receiving the funds needed for your education.

Applying for Scholarships

The above list is a small sample of the thousands of scholarships out there. Scholarships.com, Fastweb and the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship search tool are all great resources to use when searching for scholarships.

When applying, always read the requirements and follow instructions thoroughly. If you’re applying for multiple scholarships, be sure to stay organized and remember that even if you aren’t chosen, you can reapply later! This process can be time-consuming, but don’t give up. The results can be worth it in the end!

To learn more, check out our step-by-step guide for applying for scholarships and tips for success.

Applying for Grants

Receiving any kind of financial aid starts with completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filling out a FAFSA at fafsa.gov is a requirement to qualify for federal funding, which includes Federal Pell Grants. To learn more, check out our guide to filling out a FAFSA.

If you’re considering attending UTI and need help with your FAFSA, we have a dedicated team here to assist you. Simply give us a call at 844-338-0032 or schedule an appointment with one of our FA Support Specialists online.

Related Questions

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Questions? Our Team is Here to Help

If you have questions or need additional information related to scholarships and grants, reach out to our Scholarship Department by giving us a call at 800-859-7246 or emailing us at scholarships@uti.edu.

 

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By submitting this form, I further understand and agree that all information provided is subject to UTI’s Privacy Policy available at uti.edu/privacy-policy

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