Grants for Vocational School
While it is true that a high school diploma is not enough to make it financially anymore, college is not necessary for everyone. Students who are technically-minded and enjoy working with their hands could be drawn to skilled fields such as HVAC, automotive repair, welding, carpentry or cosmetology. For these students, vocational schools are the route to take. Education in many trades can be obtained either at a technical school or at a community college. In the past these fields of study have not offered much grant and scholarship assistance. That is beginning to change, due to the soaring demand for skilled trades people.
Federal and State Funding Opportunities
Most funding from the Federal government is administered by the community college or trade school itself. The government disperses the funds to the school, which then awards the funds to students. For this reason, the financial aid office at individual schools is the best place to start a search for federal government assistance. The good news is that, through the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, the government allots over $1 billion per year to schools to assist students with their education.
Virtually all states provide some sort of funding for vocational students. The best place to start research is a state’s higher education commission, or which ever agency directs higher education in the state. For instance, a vocational education grant awarded by the Kansas Board of Regents, that state’s highest educational body, can be found at www.kansasregents.org/scholarships_and_grants. A list of these agencies can be found at http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/Programs/EROD/org_list.cfm?category_ID=SHE.
Private Associations, Organizations and Industry
These organizations will yield a surprising number of grant and scholarship opportunities. Every individual trade has a professional association, and in many cases these organization have regional or local chapters. Both national and local chapters may be sources of funding. Once a student decides which field to enter, that trade’s organization will be a valuable source of information and resources. The following are a few examples:
- The National Association of Oil and Energy Service Professionals awards scholarships each year to students entering the field of home energy. Their website is http://www.naohsm.org/industry_scholarships.cfm.
- The Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Educational Foundation (www.foundation.phccweb.org) offers a number of scholarships to students studying to enter that field.
- Helicopter Foundation International (www.helicopterfoundation.org) offers funding opportunities for both experienced helicopter mechanics seeking new certifications and students seeking to enter the field.
It is not just trade organizations that have an interest in promoting vocational education. Students should think creatively about organizations which might support vocational students. For example:
- The Nebraska Elks Association awards grants each year to high school students planning to enter a trade school, technical school or community college. More information is available at their website, www.nebraskaelks.org.
There is some educational funding for vocational students available from private business, as well. Some examples are:
- Straightforward Media offers $500 grants for students in a number of fields of study, including vocational fields. More information is on their website at www.straightforwardmedia.com.
- Home Depot supports students studying construction, contracting and HVAC in vocational schools through scholarships. Their site for more information is www.homedepotfoundation.