20 Great College Grants

Whether you’re an undergraduate or PhD candidate, affording the cumbersome cost of tuition is easier with college grants.

Often called “gift aid,” a grant is free financial aid offering a specific dollar amount each year. Unlike loans, grants are awarded based on merit or need and don’t have to be repaid. Grants are awarded mostly by the federal government, state commissions, and private or non-profit organizations. The NCES reports that 85 percent of first-time, full-time undergraduate students in the United States earn grant funding. That’s helpful considering the whopping average tuition is $9,139 at public four-year and $31,231 at private four-year universities.

Don’t pass up an opportunity for free money with these 20 great grants for college.

1. AAUW Career Development Grant

Deadline: December 15th

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers the Career Development Grants for $2,000 to $12,000 to female students holding a bachelor’s degree who are pursuing a master’s program, post-baccalaureate certificate, or professional degree. Priority is given to women of color and women entering non-traditional fields. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens and be enrolling at regionally accredited four-year colleges for either on-campus or distance learning. A $35 filing fee is required via PayPal.


AAUW Career Development Grant
1111 Sixteenth Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 785-7700
Grant Link

2. Alexia Foundation Student Grant

Deadline: March 11th

Named in honor of a Syracuse University student killed in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, the Alexia Foundation Student Grant provides $1,500 to full-time students enrolled in accredited U.S. or abroad colleges. Qualified undergraduate and graduate applicants must be studying photography or a related media, have less than one year’s of full-time professional experience, show a portfolio of high-caliber images, and exhibit dedication to promoting world peace through art.


Alexia Foundation Student Grant
P.O. Box 87
Bloomingdale, NJ 07403
Grant Link

3. Carole Fielding Student Grant

Deadline: December 15th

The University Film & Video Association (UFVA) presents the Carole Fielding Student Grant yearly for $1,000 to undergraduate or graduate students who are enrolled full-time at accredited U.S. colleges to study film, TV, video, or new media production. To apply, applicants must submit a statement of purpose, one-page resume, recommendation from a sponsoring UFVA member, budget plan, and script or research proposal for an upcoming project.


Carole Fielding Student Grant
702 South Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
(866) 244-0626
Grant Link

4. Chafee Grant for Foster Youth

Deadline: March 2nd

The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) offers the Chafee Grant for Foster Youth for $5,000 per year to cover the tuition costs of job training or college education for current or former foster youth under 22 years old. Eligible California residents must be enrolling at least half-time and maintain satisfactory academic progress at a public or private university in the United States. Having a social security number isn’t required under the California Dream Act.


Chafee Grant for Foster Youth
11040 White Rock Road
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
(888) 224-7268
Grant Link

5. David H. and Beverly A. Barlow Grant

Deadline: September 15th

Funded by the American Psychological Association (APA), the David H. and Beverly A. Barlow Grant is valued at $9,000 for graduate students who are conducting innovative research on anxiety disorders. Qualified recipients must be affiliated with non-profit U.S. higher learning institutions, demonstrate outstanding clinical knowledge, and have IRB research approval. Other APA grants for college include the Scott Mesh Honorary Grant and Clara Mayo Grant.


David H. and Beverly A. Barlow Grant
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 336-5843
Grant Link

6. Federal Pell Grant

Deadline: June 30th

For a maximum amount of $5,815 for 12 semesters, the Federal Pell Grant program is awarded based on financial need by the U.S. Department of Education to students filing a FAFSA form. To qualify, candidates must be pursuing their first associate or bachelor’s degree full-time or part-time and will be enrolled for a full academic year at an accredited U.S. college. Monetary value will vary according to Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and cost of attendance.


Federal Pell Grant
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202
(800) 872-5327
Grant Link

7. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Deadline: June 30th

Similarly, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is reserved by the U.S. Department of Education for American citizens or legal residents who exhibit exceptional financial need. Ranging from $100 to $4,000 annually, the campus-based grant is administered at participating, accredited colleges nationwide. Eligible full-time or part-time undergraduates will have funds disbursed directly to their student accounts at least twice per academic year.


Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202
(800) 872-5327
Grant Link

8. Gilbert Matching Student Grant

Deadline: April 30th

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education gifts the Gilbert Matching Student Grant Program (GMSGP) to provide up to $2,500 to legal in-state residents who are enrolling full-time at participating colleges for their first diploma, associate, or bachelor’s degree. Qualified students must have lived in Massachusetts at least 12 months, have U.S. citizenship, not be default on student loans, and demonstrate financial need. Institutions will expend an amount equal to 100% of the grant received.


Gilbert Matching Student Grant
454 Broadway Suite 200
Revere, MA 02151
(617) 391-6070
Grant Link

9. Ike Crumbly Minorities in Energy Grant

Deadline: February 15th

Sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), the Ike Crumbly Minorities in Energy Grant to honor the director of the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP). This $1,000 grant is restricted to female and ethnic minority students of African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American heritage. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited master’s or PhD program and devoting thesis research to the development of petroleum and other energy resources.


Ike Crumbly Minorities in Energy Grant
P.O. Box 979
Tulsa, OK 74101
(855) 302) 2743
Grant Link

10. Illinois National Guard Grant

Deadline: October 1st

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) bestows the Illinois National Guard Grant to waive eligible tuition credits at public, in-state two or four-year colleges for up to six full-time academic years. Qualifying students must have completed one full year of National Guard service, be an enlisted member or officer, maintain an acceptable GPA, not be in default, and pursue their first undergraduate degree. The grant can be combined with Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.


Illinois National Guard Grant
1755 Lake Cook Road
Deerfield, IL 60015
(847) 831-8549
Grant Link

11. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Deadline: June 30th

Another of the federal grants for college is the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, which can gift up to $5,775 yearly. FAFSA form applicants under 24 years old must have a parent or guardian who died in the Armed Forces after 9/11 and be enrolled at least part-time at an accredited college in America. It’s designed for U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens who meet Federal Pell Grant requirements except the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).


Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202
(800) 872-5327
Grant Link

12. Jackie Robinson Scholarship Grant

Deadline: February 15th

Valued at $28,000 over four years, the Jackie Robinson Scholarship Grant is awarded to minority, financially needy high school seniors who plan to acquire a bachelor’s degree from an accredited senior college or university in the United States. Chosen recipients must show leadership capacity, be committed to community service, have U.S. citizenship, score at least 1,000 on the SAT or 21 on the ACT, and submit one letter of recommendation.


Jackie Robinson Scholarship Grant
75 Varick Street 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10013
(212) 290-8600
Grant Link

13. Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant

Deadline: April 1st

Administered by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), the Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant is presented for $2,000 annually to students of Hispanic origin who were born in or have natural parents born in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central, or South America. Eligible applicants must attend a participating Florida institution, carry a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.0, exhibit unmet need, take at least 12 credits per semester, and not owe loan repayment.


Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(888) 827-2004
Grant Link

14. KHEAA College Access Program Grant

Deadline: Varies

The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) has established the College Access Program (CAP) Grant to award up to $1,900 for financially needy state citizens who are attending participating public or private undergraduate colleges. Eligibility criteria mandates having Kentucky residency for at least 12 months, pursuing an associate or bachelor’s program, and enrolling at least half-time. Applicants should submit the FAFSA quickly after January 1st since funds are first-come, first-served.


KHEAA College Access Program Grant
P.O. Box 798
Frankfort, KY 40602
(800) 928-8926
Grant Link

15. Mary Minglen Memorial Grant

Deadline: October 29th

The Mary Minglen Memorial Grant awards $1,200 each year from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) to full-time students who are pursuing a graduate degree at an accredited U.S. college for a clinical occupational therapy career. For consideration, students must have completed at least one year post-baccalaureate, carry a cumulative GPA over 3.0, attach two recommendation letters, and display potential for OT practice. There’s also the Carolyn Kohn Memorial Grant for New Yorkers.


Mary Minglen Memorial Grant
4720 Montgomery Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
(240) 292-1034
Grant Link

16. NCAA Graduate Student Research Grant

Deadline: December 1st

The NCAA funds a $7,500 Graduate Student Research Grant annually to encourage master’s and PhD students at member schools to perform cutting-edge research concerning the psychosocial well-being of collegiate student-athletes. Priority is given to graduates focusing in the social and behavioral sciences, including sport psychology. Qualified recipients will be U.S. citizens, pursue accredited U.S. study, exhibit research competence, and submit research proposals worthy of publish in NCAA Champion magazine.


NCAA Graduate Student Research Grant
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, IN 46206
(317) 917-6222
Grant Link

17. Pennsylvania Blind or Deaf Beneficiary Grant

Deadline: March 31st

Each spring, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) distributes the Blind or Deaf Beneficiary Grant for $500 to in-state residents who supply written documentation from a licensed physician regarding their significant visual and/or hearing impairment. Before filing the FAFSA, students must be accepted for full-time or half-time enrollment at an eligible Pennsylvania post-secondary institution. Those maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.0 can renew the grant for five years maximum.


Pennsylvania Blind or Deaf Beneficiary Grant
P.O. Box 8157
Harrisburg, PA 17105
(800) 692-7392
Grant Link

18. TEACH Grant Program

Deadline: June 30th

For $4,000 per year, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program is hosted nationally to highly qualified students who are attending an accredited U.S. college for a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education. Applicants must be preparing for a high-need field, such as TESOL, special education, science, literacy, math, or foreign language, with a minimum GPA of 3.25. Recipients must agree to teach at least four academic years at a low-income, PreK-12 school.


TEACH Grant Program
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202
(800) 872-5327
Grant Link

19. Texas Tuition Equalization Grant

Deadline: None

The College for all Texans awards the Texas Tuition Equalization Grant each year for up to $5,046 to in-state residents or non-resident National Merit Finalists who are receiving $1,000 or more in competitive scholarships. Recipients must attend a private, non-profit Texas university, have financial need, possess a minimum 2.5 GPA, complete at least 24 credits per year, register for Selective Service, and enroll on at least three-quarters basis. Eligibility is determined automatically considered from the FAFSA application.


Texas Tuition Equalization Grant
P.O. Box 12788
Austin, TX 87811
(512) 427-6101
Grant Link

20. Zell Miller Grant Program

Deadline: Last day of the term

The Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) created the Zell Miller Grant Program to cover in-state undergraduate tuition for earning a certificate or diploma at public institutions in the Technical College System of Georgia or University System of Georgia with a minimum GPA of 3.5. Eligible candidates must have not earned a bachelor’s degree or received grant payments for 63 semester hours. Depending on their FAFSA form, recipients could also obtain the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant (SIWDG).


Zell Miller Grant Program
2082 East Exchange Place
Tucker, GA 30084
(770) 724-9000
Grant Link

Grants for college can swoop in and save the day for many financially needy students lacking the resources to cover tuition. Even if you don’t meet low-income requirements, there are merit-based grants awarded for research, community projects, or service agreements. Grant opportunities are growing in number to help minimize student debt. Instead of signing your salary away with hefty loans, finance your education with this reserved grant money. All 50 states have tuition assistance agencies, so these 20 great college grants are just the beginning!