Scholarships and Grants: Websites and Resources to Help Secure Money for Your Education Degree
If you’re eager to advance in the field of education but lack the financial means to do so, scholarships and grants can be a huge help. What’s the difference between a scholarship and a grant? Simply put:
- Scholarships are “merit-based” and are awarded to students with certain personal and/or professional qualifications.
- Grants are sometimes “need-based” and are usually awarded based on family income guidelines.
The two terms are often used interchangeably, so don’t stress over whether you’re applying for one or the other. The most important fact: You generally won’t have to pay back any scholarship or grant awards.
Where to find scholarship and grant opportunities for teachers and educators
The Internet is your best friend and should be one of the first stops—if not the first stop—as you begin your research.
Federal Student Aid: any degree level, any major
Regardless of your degree level or selected major, start by reviewing the government-run Federal Student Aid website. The tagline says it all: At Federal Student Aid, we make it easier to get money for higher education.
There’s a ton of information on the types of financial assistance available to students pursuing higher education. The website also helps you plan for college, paying back loans, and more—really, an all-around great resource.
Specific to (would-be) teachers, be sure to explore the two most common grants:
- Federal Pell Grants: These grants are typically rewarded to only undergraduate students; however, individuals enrolled in (post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs) may also qualify if certain requirements are met.
- TEACH Grants: The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant provides up to $4,000 a year to students who are planning to start or are currently in a teaching career. Please note: Students must fulfill certain obligations—including teaching for four years in educational settings that serve low-income families—in order to qualify. Be sure to check out all the details.
And, although not a grant, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program provides great benefits for teachers who meet certain requirements (similar to the TEACH Grant). You may be eligible for up to $17,500 on your direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Make sure to work with your lender to determine if you qualify, and check out studentloans.gov to see the requirements.
Other awesome Web-based resources to learn about scholarships
The key to earning scholarship- and grant-based financial aid is to research and apply—and research and apply often. Application deadlines come and go, and new scholarship and grant opportunities always emerge. Don’t fret if you miss one deadline as there’ll be more chances.
Keeping tabs on what’s available, what’s coming up, and what has passed is not an easy task. Thankfully, there are websites that do just that. Here are some of our favorites. Tip: Bookmark everything.
Scholarships.com: education scholarships
Scholarships.com is one of the most comprehensive resources for its namesake (go figure!). The team does a fantastic job managing and maintaining its scholarships database, and they provide great info to families and school counselors on how to plan to pay for college.
Teach.org: financial aid & scholarships
Teach.org is a joint effort launched by Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Education. Their goal is to assist teachers and anyone becoming a teacher. The number of scholarships listed on their site is massive, and the ability to sort and filter makes it easy for anyone to search for relevant opportunities across multiple dimensions, including degree level, ethnicity, and area of study.
CollegeScholarships.org: available scholarships for teachers
Although the website’s list of scholarships and grants isn’t as robust as the others we’ve mentioned, CollegeScholarships.org does a great job of expanding our eyes to the types of scholarships available. Their page breaks down opportunities into three categories: State and Local Teaching Scholarships, National Teaching Scholarships, and Diversity Scholarships. Why is this important? It gives us clues as to where and how we can look for grants based on our own individual characteristics.
Google (or your favorite search engine)
The almighty Google search is a great place to scour for scholarships and grants. As we suggested earlier, it’s important to think more broadly about the types of scholarships that could be available—this will help refine your search terms and the search results. As an example, check out these two searches and see what comes up:
- Try: scholarships and grants for teachers
- Then try: scholarships and grants for teachers in STATE (Replace STATE with your state of residency)
Are there other resources to find teacher-friendly scholarships and grants?
The school you’re planning to attend or currently attending is a great resource. Check out your school’s website to look for a list of scholarship organizations they work with or recommend. Or check with your school’s financial aid counselors—they may be able to help students uncover many ways to pay for college—after all, that’s their job! Also note that schools themselves help immensely in providing tuition discounts. Make sure you check out all available opportunities to see if you meet the qualifications.
For in-market teachers and educators
Check with your employer to see if they offer tuition reimbursement. Many districts provide monetary support for employees in their pursuit of continued education. There are great benefits for both the teacher—professional development, personal happiness, and perhaps even more pay—as well as to the district in the form of higher teacher retention. (If you’re a current teacher and are interested in pursuing a master of education, see our guide for tips on how to lower the cost of your degree.)