Trade School Grants
Technical and vocational programs combine academic, hands-on and work-based learning to provide students with the knowledge and skills appropriate for placement in jobs in their areas of study. Technical and vocational programs usually award an industry-recognized certificate, degree or credential. Community colleges, technical colleges and industry-specific trade schools offer curricula that award certificates and diplomas.
Students who pursue technical and vocational degrees through eligible programs and institutions can be awarded federal, state and private grants. Students must attend an accredited school to receive federal funds for student loans and grants. Some schools are authorized to award federal grants and loans but not all trade or technical schools participate in federal aid programs. Students should check with the financial aid office of a prospective school and ask what types of assistance are available.
The first step in obtaining federal or state aid for vocational education is to complete the FAFSA form. The FAFSA asks for detailed financial information from students and their families. This information is used to determine a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and amount of assistance needed. The difference between the cost of attending the school and the EFC is the amount of aid a student needs.
Several federal grants are available to vocational students with demonstrated financial need including the Pell Grant. To qualify, a student must complete the FAFSA, be a United States citizen or an eligible non-citizen, hold a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent, be enrolled in an eligible program and not hold a bachelor’s degree. Students who qualify for a Pell Grant may also be considered for additional federal aid like the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Low-interest Federal Perkins Loans are also offered to students in technical degree programs with financial need.
Most states award grants, scholarships and loans to students with financial need. State often target the needs of specific communities including minorities, veterans, people returning to work after being out of the workforce, women and people with disabilities.
Many colleges and technical schools offer a variety of need-based and merit-based private grants or can help students find private grants. Colleges often have affiliations with corporations and industry-based businesses that award grants to students in relevant fields of studies.
Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), a non-profit organization in heating, ventilation and air conditioning repair training and certification, offers several scholarships through its educational foundation. Visit the RSES Educational Foundation Homepage to learn more. Special interest organizations like fraternities and professional societies also offer grants and scholarships.
Some companies offer tuition reimbursement. If a student works, the institution may provide money for tuition for continuing or higher studies.