Grants For Online Classes

Grants are an excellent way for people to supplement the cost of their post secondary education. Read on the find out about the different types for online classes.

College tuition has been steadily rising over the last two decades, meaning the vast majority of individuals must take out some form of student loan to pay for their post-secondary education. Furthermore, whether because of improvements in technology or convenience, more and more people are turning toward online classes to fulfill their post-secondary requirements. In fact, with the recent pandemic shutting most major universities, colleges, and technical schools, enrollment in online classes has never been higher.

Although online classes provide some level of savings, especially when it comes to transportation and on-campus living expenses, the classes are still quite expensive. Many would-be students head to the bank to take out a student loan. Fortunately, there is another way for people to secure funding for their education, and that is through grants.

In the simplest of terms, a grant is a sum of money awarded to an individual to help pay for college, university, or vocational training. Initially, grants were primarily awarded on a merit basis, but this has changed in recent years, and many different types of grants are currently available.

Types of Grants Available

The diversity in the types of grants available to students is extremely impressive. This being said, not everyone qualifies for all types of grants, and you must be somewhat strategic when applying. Below is a list of the most common types of grants for online classes you are likely to encounter, along with the eligibility criteria. 

Merit-Based Grants

Traditionally speaking, merit-based grants were reserved for individuals who achieved academic success somewhere in the top percentile. Typically, this meant maintaining a straight-A average and participating in some form of extracurricular activity. 

While these types of merit-based grants still exist, and in high quantity, grant makers have come to understand that some people deserve to be rewarded even if they have not managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA. For example, say a student was able to achieve a B average while also dedicating a significant portion of his or her time to a sport or hobby that they excelled at. In this instance, there are many organizations willing to help out such a person.

Aside from scholastic and athletic prowess, some merit-based grants, such as the Alliance For Young Writers and Artists Award, provide grants and scholarships to those who show artistic promise.

Need-Based Grants

It is an unfortunate reality that not all students come from a financial background that allows them to pay even the most basic expenses of post-second education. Although loans are available, they are not always enough, and in these cases, looking for a grant may be the best option.

Determining if you are eligible for a need-based grant is relatively straightforward and is calculated by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Cost Of Attendance (COA). As a formula, this calculation would read as COA - EFC = Student Need.

Determining EFC is done by analyzing your student's financial background and family financial assets. The lower your EFC is, the more likely you will be to receive a grant. If you are interested in pursuing government need-based grants, a good place to start is the grants.gov search function.

Corporate Grants

As a form of community service and outreach, many large corporations have grants available to help people pay for their post-secondary education. Some companies, such as Coca-Cola or Burger King, require all applicants to be current employees to be eligible. Other companies, such as large engineering or research firms, often set aside a small amount of money each year to help up-and-coming students pay for their education in a related field. 

When applying for a corporate grant, the first step is to examine the eligibility requirements closely. Some companies only extend grants to current employees who have worked at the company in some capacity for a minimum period. Other companies may not put such requirements on applicants but may only accept applications from people already enrolled in post-secondary study. Other stipulations could include an agreement to work for the company once you obtain your degree.

Returning to Education Grants

For one reason or another, not everyone is able to attend college straight out of high school. Many have a family to take care of, and others are not emotionally ready for the responsibility. Whatever the reason may be, there are a growing number of grants available to older adults looking to improve their education and, hopefully, their quality of life.

For certain in-demand technical positions, many employers are willing to pay a portion of your educational expenses, providing you commit a pre-set number of years to the company once the education is complete.  Aside from this, there are many government-sponsored grants for adults returning to college or university.

Academic Department Grants

Although many people are not aware, individual college/university departments often have some money set aside to award as grants to students. Qualifying for these types of grants usually requires applicants to have declared their major in a field of study directly under the department's supervision and control. For example, an Art History major would be wasting their time applying for a grant from the engineering department.

While each school/department has a different way of deciding who receives these funds, often, they are granted to individuals who present promise in the field and have been noticed by staff and faculty. Along with this, department grants are also often granted to students undergoing some form of financial difficulty.