An education grant is a very general term for money donated to either private individuals pursuing post-secondary education or institutions who wish to pursue a particular project related to education. In the former case, the rising cost of post-secondary education places a huge burden on many who wish to continue their studies but do not have a large budget to dedicate to their wish. An education grant is a solution to this problem, allowing an individual to pursue an undergraduate or post-graduate degree.
In the latter case, universities, high schools, elementary and middle schools are not able to carry out certain programs with the sometimes meager state and federal funds allocated to them. Again, an education grant could be the solution, promoting programs or projects at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level and involving adult education or education of younger students or both. There are a wide variety of education grants for institutions; an education grant can be used by a particular university to add an instructive museum honoring African Americans on campus, it can be given to a high school to add computers or laboratory equipment for science projects, it can be given to an elementary school wishing to add a bilingual education program, or it can be given to a volunteer organization that organizes drug awareness programs for youth.
These grants need not be paid back, but the individual or institution seeking education grant money must demonstrate why the money is needed and how the money will be put towards an education-oriented goal. For individuals seeking money for post-secondary studies, oftentimes merely sending personal information is enough, though many more specific grants will need some kind of written statement explaining the need for the money. Often, individuals must meet residency, financial and academic needs to be eligible for an education grant and, at times, certain programs of study must be undertaken to be eligible for grant money.
In the case of institutions seeking grant money, the process is a bit more complex, involving a number of forms to be filled out and a proposal to be written. Proposals must give some background information, the purpose of the grant, the need for the grant, where the grant will be used and for whom (the target population), the strategies to carry out the grant, the personnel employed, methods for evaluating the success of the project, and a budget. Depending on the specific project, then, there may be other, more particular, needs. For example, if you had to use animals, say for a research education project, you would have to include where the animals would be housed, and you would have to consult the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to demonstrate knowledge of guidelines concerning the humane treatment of animals.
Grants of this nature can be donated by the federal or state government, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, research institutions, funding institutions, corporations, or private individuals. Grants.gov is an excellent place to start the search, which is a site listing all Federal grants available ($400 billion are available) as is Ed.gov, the home page of the US Department of Education. Internet searches are helpful, and sites such as finaid.org, collegeanswer.com, and the Michigan State Library website are excellent sources for education grant information.
One of the best ways to research grant opportunities is to visit your regional foundation library, located at most major universities. Your local library will also have books listing grant opportunities, and you can consult with the librarian if you have any questions. These kinds of books will also be available either at your high school counselor’s office or your university’s financial aid office. You can buy these books at book stores.