Scholarships for Community College Students

Community college is an excellent option for an affordable education. Learn about available community college scholarships and grants in our short guide.

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by Sharon Wilfong

Published on March 14, 2022 · Updated on April 8, 2022

Reviewed by Mary Louis

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Scholarships for Community College Students

Scholarships for community college students often help them overcome financial obstacles that can discourage them from pursuing education. For example, North Carolina State University surveyed around 6,000 two-year college students across the country. Respondents reported that working and paying for expenses were the two top challenges they faced while trying to complete their education.

Approximately 50% of respondents noted they didn't earn enough to cover their costs while in school. But community college scholarships and grants can help reduce financial barriers with money for books, supplies, tuition, and even childcare.

Financial Challenges for Community College Students

Open admissions, low tuition rates, and convenient locations make community colleges a great option for many prospective students. But financial stress often prevents students from graduating.

Finding and paying for childcare is a financial barrier that many students face when attending college. Working full time is also a common challenge for students because it often leaves little time to study. Plus, a student's income may not cover the cost of living, much less the added expenses of attending school.

Financial burdens can lead to ongoing stress, anxiety, and depression. Worrying about money can make it difficult to focus and often causes students to drop out. But quitting school may cause students to lose access to scholarship funds and work-study opportunities.

Dropping out may also mean having to pay back loans without the higher earning power of a degree. However, grants, scholarships, and other financial aid can help reduce student financial stress. Additionally, organizations such as Scholarship America work with various partners to offer emergency financial assistance.

Some schools offer emergency grants and a comprehensive emergency aid system, including food pantries, housing aid, vouchers, and financial education programs.

Community College Scholarships

true DEWALT Trades Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Students and makers pursuing full-time study at a two-year college or vocational or technical school are eligible. They must be pursuing a major in trade fields such as construction, technology, or mechanics.

Application Deadline: December 2022

Scholarship Amount: Up to $10,000

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true National Board Scholarship (American Association for Women in Community Colleges)

Who Is Eligible: Women who are currently attending any community college in the United States are eligible. Students may also apply if they attended community college in the last three years and are transferring to a four-year institution.

Application Deadline: May 2022

Scholarship Amount: $500

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true Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship (Phi Theta Kappa)

Who Is Eligible: Phi Theta Kappa members are eligible. The fund sets aside 25 scholarships specifically for current military and military veterans. Students must be taking courses in an associate program at the time of application.

Application Deadline: May 2022

Scholarship Amount: $1,000

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The Susan T. Buffett Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Nebraska residents, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program participants, and undocumented students are eligible. Students can also apply if they plan to attend a Nebraska community college and need financial aid.

Application Deadline: February 2023

Scholarship Amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship

The California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment

Who Is Eligible: Students who have completed 24 college class units and are enrolled at least half time for each term are eligible. They must also qualify for the California College Promise Grant.

Application Deadline: Scholarship deadlines vary by college

Scholarship Amount: Up to $1,200 per academic year

Apply for Scholarship

GEICO Pathway to Completion Associate Degree Scholarship (Phi Theta Kappa)

Who Is Eligible: Phi Theta Kappa members who have been in a leadership position on campus or in their community are eligible. Students must enroll in an associate program for the fall term following their application in the spring.

Application Deadline: Opens Spring 2022

Scholarship Amount: $1,000

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The Dream Award Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and DACA students are eligible for up to three years of funding. Applicants must have completed at least one year of college, trade, or technical school.

Application Deadline: Opens August 2022

Scholarship Amount: $5,000-$15,000

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AppZen STEM Scholarship for Racial Justice

Who Is Eligible: Students who identify as Black or African American and are pursuing a major in STEM fields are eligible. They must be planning to enroll full-time at an accredited two-year or four-year college.

Application Deadline: Opens January 2023

Scholarship Amount: $3,000

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Future of School Scholarship Program

Who Is Eligible: High school seniors who have completed a minimum of five blended or online courses are eligible. Applicants must be planning full-time enrollment at an accredited two-year college, four-year college, or vocational school.

Application Deadline: Opens December 2022

Scholarship Amount: Up to $10,000

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Lockheed Martin Vocational Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Students with a high school diploma or GED certificate pursuing an associate degree, certificate, or industry certification are eligible. Applicants must enroll part time or full time in one of the specified areas of study at an accredited institution.

Application Deadline: April 2022

Scholarship Amount: $5,000

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Community College Scholarships for Transfer Students

true Darrel Hess Community College Geography Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Students enrolled at a U.S. community college or a similar two-year educational institution at the time of application are eligible. Applicants must plan to transfer to a four-year college as a geography major during the upcoming academic year.

Application Deadline: December 2022

Scholarship Amount: $1,500

Apply for Scholarship

true The Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Current community college students or recent graduates who have a minimum of a 3.5 GPA are eligible. The student and their parents' gross income must not exceed $95,000 annually.

Application Deadline: Opens October 2022

Scholarship Amount: Up to $55,000 per year

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true Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Who Is Eligible: Hispanic graduating high school seniors, undergraduate students, graduate students, and community college transfer students are eligible. Applicants must submit a FAFSA and plan to enroll full-time in an accredited four-year university or graduate school.

Application Deadline: March 2022

Scholarship Amount: Up to $5,000

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AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship Award

Who Is Eligible: Students who are attending a two-year college and are going to transfer to a four-year institution are eligible. Applicants must also plan to pursue a degree in accounting or accounting-related fields.

Application Deadline: March 2022

Scholarship Amount: $5,000

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Scholarships for Military Children

Who Is Eligible: Students whose parents currently serve in or are retired from the armed forces are eligible. Applicants must be in a community college program planning on direct transfer into a four-year program.

Application Deadline: Opens December 2022

Scholarship Amount: $2,000

Apply for Scholarship

Grants for Community College Students

true Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholar Grant

Who Is Eligible: Women, nonbinary, trans, intersex, agender, and queer individuals over the age of 35 are eligible. Applicants must also demonstrate financial need and be pursuing technical education, an associate degree, or a first bachelor's degree.

Application Deadline: Opens November 2023

Scholarship Amount: Varies

Apply for Grant

true Grace College Transfer Student Grant

Who Is Eligible: U.S. undergraduate students planning to transfer to Grace College of Indiana who demonstrate financial need are eligible. Most institutional scholarships through the college require residence on campus and full-time enrollment.

Application Deadline: March 2023

Scholarship Amount: Up to $16,000 per year

Apply for Grant

true Frances Perkins Program

Who Is Eligible: Students who are 25 or older, or who are under 25 but also a parent or veteran, are eligible. Additionally, applicants must have earned between 40-64 college-level credits before transferring.

Application Deadline: November 2022

Scholarship Amount: Varies

Apply for Grant

Concordia College of New York Fortress Grant

Who Is Eligible: Students who are active members of the Lutheran church and transferring to Concordia College of New York are eligible. Applicants must provide a recommendation letter and personal statement.

Application Deadline: April 2022

Scholarship Amount: Up to $15,000 per year

Apply for Grant

State University Grant Program

Who Is Eligible: Undergraduate and graduate students who meet California residency are eligible if they fill out the FAFSA and meet income requirements. Colleges base transfer students' eligibility on the number of units transferred.

Application Deadline: March 2023

Scholarship Amount: Varies

Apply for Grant

Financial Resources for Community College Students

Frequently Asked Questions About Community College Scholarships

Can you get a full ride to community college? true

Full-ride scholarships are rare when it comes to scholarships for community college students. Even full-ride scholarships for community college transfer students are hard to find. However, federal grants and work-study are available to help students cover expenses.

It's essential to fill out the FAFSA to request federal, state, and institutional help to pay for college. The financial aid office assists students in finding funding that can cover tuition, books, and other expenses. Like a full-ride, a combination of scholarships and grants can relieve a tremendous amount of financial burden.

What challenges do community college students face? true

The biggest challenges for community college students stem from finances. Typically, students have trouble keeping up with expenses while also having enough time to study. They have a hard time paying for living expenses, textbooks, college tuition, and childcare. Some community college students may also find it challenging to juggle the responsibilities of college with work and their personal lives.

What are three benefits of attending a community college?

Three benefits of attending a community college are the cost, an opportunity to take foundational classes, and time to decide on a major. If you want to study what you love, you can often discover your career path by earning an associate degree at a community college and then transfer to a four-year school to earn your bachelor's degree.

Community colleges offer a variety of vocational programs including nursing, dental hygiene, automotive technology, engineering technology, and industrial manufacturing. Additionally, you can find scholarships for community college transfer students for specific fields, including accounting, engineering, and medical occupations.

Most colleges waive general education requirements for transfer students with an associate degree, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.

Can you get a Pell Grant for community college?

Yes. In fact, a Pell Grant could potentially cover the cost of an associate degree at a community college. However, there are a couple of considerations. For one, you must fill out the FAFSA every year to maintain Pell Grant eligibility.

Additionally, grant amounts can change yearly. For example, for the award year July 2021-June 2022 the maximum funding is $6,495. In the 2020-2021 academic year, the maximum Pell Grant award was slightly lower, at $6,345. Also, the amount you are awarded depends on your expected family contribution and the cost of attendance. Your full-time or part-time status also affects the award amount.

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Community colleges offer a less expensive route to a college degree. But what is a community college, and is community college worth it? We've ranked the best online community colleges & trade Schools for programs, financial aid, and more. Compare and search for the school that matches your goals. Discover affordable educational options offered by community colleges in Virginia, along with the financial aid programs they provide.