Community College Scholarships and Grants

If you are a new high school graduate, or an older individual considering a return to school, a community college is a great place to start. For both, attending a local community college has been proven to be considerably less expensive than a 4-year institution. Another advantage is that for the younger student, a year or two can ease the transition into a bigger university. Classes are generally smaller, and you will likely receive more personalized attention. Community Colleges are also a great place to find scholarships and grants specifically intended for two year programs -- all you have to do is apply.

To find out details about these awards, get on the website for your local community college(s), and see what’s out there. Some are funded by individual endowments, others by local corporations, and still others are state-sponsored. All have their own eligibility requirements. Another resource is the Financial Aid Office on the campus of your chosen college.

Minority Grants

Due to the numbers of moms returning to school, many local colleges and universities are now offering grants to these students who are attending their institutions. You will have to complete the FSFSA application on line to qualify. Inquire at your school’s Financial Aid Office.

Pell Grants

Grants, unlike loans, never have to be repaid. You do have to substantiate your need for financial aid to continue your education, but that is easily done by completing the free on-line FAFSA application (see note above). These grants are available to part-time students, and in that case are awarded in a pro-rated amount, based on hours enrolled. Pell Grants are only available to those students who can prove significant financial need. Details are available on line at:

Perkins Loans

This is a loan, and will have to be repaid, but it is the one most appealing to Community College students. Rates are much lower and repayment terms more attractive than other Federal loans. You must complete the FAFSA application (see note above) which will provide proof of financial need in order to qualify. You must also be enrolled part-time on your campus to be eligible. Applications and more information are on line:

Stafford Loans

These loans provide funding for students in need of financial aid, no matter what their parent’s income level or what assets they may have. Although these loans have to be repaid upon graduation, rates and repayment schedules are generally reasonable, and some amounts may be forgiven under specific conditions. You must be a half-time student to qualify, and you must complete the FAFSA application (see note above) on-line to apply. For an application and complete information, go to:

Specific Scholarship Programs

Horatio Alger

If you are ready to begin your college career, and you have already faced and overcome great hardship in your life, you need to take a look at this opportunity. You must be able to demonstrate financial need, have an excellent scholastic track record, be serious minded in your approach to your future, and have past community service experience. Funds awarded are to be used for full-time study in a 2-year at a community college or a 4-year program at a university. There is no specified field of study. If you would like an application and more information, visit this website:

American Indian College Fund -- Anthony A. Weimas

The American Indian College Fund, working with family endowments and corporations, offer many scholarships to Native American students. This particular scholarship is for $2,000. Eligibility requirements include that you be an enrolled member of a Federally Recognized Tribe. You must be enrolled as a full-time student in pursuit of either your Associates or Bachelor’s degree, and you must have at least a 3.0 GPA. For more complete details and information, an application to complete on line, and a list of what documents you will need to submit with your application, go to the website:

American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary

These scholarships are also offered nationwide by state chapters of these organizations, and, although some eligibility requirements vary from state to state, as well as award amounts, they all require that you be a dependent or descendent of a U.S. military veteran. Go to the American Legion website for your state for more information: Funds awarded may be utilized for study in 2 or 4-year programs and schools.

Association for Women in Science Awards (AWIS)

Each year about 25 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 are presented to women majoring in one of the ‘stem’ fields: science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. On occasional, Citations of Merit are also presented, in the amount of $500 each. Students attending community colleges may apply in preparation for their sophomore year, as long as they have solid plans for transfer to a 4-year program to obtain their bachelor’s degree. Applicant must have an outstanding academic record and be applying for this scholarship for the first time. They must also be U.S. citizens, and be planning a science-based career in research, or teaching at the college or university level. Application should be accompanied by two transcripts and 2-3 letters of recommendation. For further details, go to the website at:

Robert C. Byrd

These scholarships are offered in most states in the U.S. They are renewable awards in the amount of $1,500, and may be applied to full-time study at 2-year as well as 4-year schools. To apply you will need to submit an application, essay, transcript, proof of eligibility, and your SAT/ACT scores. To see complete information for your state go to:

Cancer For College

This organization will award 48 scholarships this year in varying amounts, beginning at $250. Eligibility requires that applying students be cancer survivors, currently under treatment for cancer. These awards are renewable for a second year. For more information, check out the website at: Call (760) 599-5096 or email for more info.

Coca-Cola Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation

If you have chosen to go to a two-year college or technical school, this may be your opportunity. It is a two-year scholarship in the amount of $1,000. To be eligible you must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and at 100 hours of community service within the last year. To apply, contact the financial aid office at your chosen school for more information. You can also find information about other scholarships funded by this foundation at

Barry M. Goldwater

Each year up to 300 of these scholarships are awarded to deserving sophomore students who are majoring in math, the natural sciences, or engineering. Amounts vary, but the award is designed to cover expenses including tuition, fees, books, and room and board (if applicable), up to $7,500. You must be nominated by your college, and full information and nomination forms can be found on the foundation’s website:

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

If you are of Hispanic heritage, attending a community college, with firm plans to eventually transfer to a 4-year college or university to earn your bachelor’s degree, this might be the one for you! You must be a full-time student to apply, and you must be in pursuit of your first degree. Awards range from $1,000 to $2,500, and multiple awards are given annually. If you would like to apply or learn more about this opportunity, go to:

Carl N. & Margaret Karcher Founder’s Scholarships

If you live in a state where there are Carl’s Jr. Restaurants, you might want to look into this opportunity. The foundation was established to honor the founders of the company, named above. There is no major study specified for these awards, but if selected you will receive $1,000 which can be used at 2-year community colleges or 4-year universities. If you are in the immediate family or an employee of Carl’s Jr. Restaurants, or one of its affiliates, you are ineligible for this scholarship. If you would like further details, go to the website: or

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

To be eligible for this award, in the amount of $2,000, you must be currently enrolled in school, and be in at least your second semester in a food service related program. You must already have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale. Past work experience in the food industry is required and can be proven by pay stubs or a letter from your supervisor in that position. You will also need to submit up to three letters of recommendation from current or past employers. If you would like to see complete details about this opportunity, go to:

National Society of Accountants

These scholarships are funded to encourage bright math students to enter the field of accounting. They give up to 40 awards per year in amounts ranging from $500 to $2,000, which may be used in pursuit of degrees at 2 or 4-year colleges and universities. In order to be eligible, student must be currently enrolled, majoring in accounting, and have at least a 3.0 GPA based on a 4.0 scale. For application and more information, go to the website:

Jeannette Rankin Foundation

If you are a woman who is 35 years of age or older, and you’ve decided to break out of your low-income job by pursuing an associates degree, your first bachelor’s degree, or if you plan to attend a vocational or technical school, this scholarship just might be your ticket to the future. Rankin Scholars must use funds awarded at specified accredited 2 or 4-year schools and institutions. If you would like more information about this program, visit the website:

Sallie Mae Fund American Dream

If you are an African American student in financial need who can qualify for a Pell Grant, and you have at least a 2.5 GPA, based on a 4.0 scale, you might be eligible for this award. Sallie Mae, in alliance with the United Negro College Fund, offers a number of these scholarships each year, ranging in amounts from $500 to $5,000. You must be enrolled full-time, in an accredited 2-year program to qualify. You can find more information at:

Sallie Mae Fund First in My Family

As in the scholarship noted above, this is a partnership – with the Hispanic College Fund. If you are Hispanic-American, the first in your family to ever attend college, and can provide proof of financial need to continue your education, you may qualify for this award. You must be a U.S. citizen, and must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in a 4.0 system. Funds awarded range from $500 to $5,000. Sponsored by: Hispanic College Fund. To find out more, go to the website:

Sallie Mae 911 Education Fund

These funds are available to the children of those persons killed or disabled by the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Funds are designated for use by full-time students enrolled at accredited Community Colleges or 4-year institutions. These awards are renewable annually as long as satisfactory academic achievement is maintained. More information eligibility requirements, and application details may be found at the website:

Sallie Mae Fund Unmet Need

Monies from this fund are designated to bridge the gap between financial aid from the Community College they are attending and the actual cost of going to school for low-income students. Amounts range from $1,000 to $3,800. To be eligible you must be able to substantiate your need for financial assistance. You must also have a GPA between 2.5 and 3.0. For more information about eligibility requirements and how to apply, go to the website:

The Sunshine Lady Foundation – Women’s Independence

If you are survivor of partner abuse, and are trying to make a better life for you and your children by going to college, you may qualify for this generous award. Special consideration is given to women with small children because they face the greatest hardship associated with working and going to school, such as increased expenses for childcare. This award has no specific dollar amount set, however, is usually for around $2,000. Awards are designated to be used first for tuition, books, and fees and will go directly to the school in which you are enrolled. Secondary purposes for use include childcare and transportation costs. You may apply at any time of the year. The website for more information is:

USA TODAY All-USA Community College Academic Team

Each year 20 academically outstanding students are chosen for this national team. Each student selected will receive a medallion and a cash award of $2,500. In addition 150 more scholars will be named from across the country, and each of those will receive $1,000. The process of nomination and selection of the members this team is overseen by Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society of Community Colleges.

The college President at each school is the traditional nominator for these positions, and may each submit up to two names for their institution. If you are interested in being chosen as a nominee, you will have to contact the nominator on your campus. Eligibility requirements include: enrolled as a full-time student; a cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale; if more than one school has been attended, the cumulative GPA from all will be calculated; on your way to earning your associate’s degree, or working toward transfer to a 4-year university and your bachelor’s degree; you must have completed a minimum of 30 semester hours (or 45 quarter hours) at your current or previous school, and must have completed at least 48 semester hours (or 72 quarter hours) within the last five years. This must be your first nomination for this award; and, your record must be free of any infringements.

If you are interested in becoming a member of this prestigious academic team, go to the website at: or