So you want to be a chef and learn the culinary arts. Or maybe computer programming or auto repair is where your interests lie. There are many other vocational choices that require schooling without going to a four-year college, such as cosmetology, court reporting, graphic design, or electrician training.

It may be that a technical or trade school is more up your alley, but going to a technical school still isn’t free. Oh well, pull out your wallet and pony up…

Hold your horses. Put your wallet away for now. Sure, there are private loans or bank loans that could be taken out, but the ideal scenario is to get financial aid for technical schooling. Some are more well-known and some more specific, so do your homework. The following list of financial aid for trade, technical, or vocational school students will give you a head start:

1. Pell Grants

Did you know that the government has federal grants, money that doesn’t have to be paid back, that are offered not just to students attending a four-year college, but are available to technical students as well? There are Pell grants that are available to individuals who qualify to help offset tuition costs. The amount of the grant varies depending on how much your program costs, how much can be expected for you to contribute, and whether it is part- or full-time. The grant is paid twice a year to the technical school you are attending or directly to you.

2. Other Grants

There are some other federal grants, such as the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant. There are also a few others that are not based on financial need.

Perkins Technical School Grants are monies that are granted to some technical schools. That sometimes translates into money that can be given to students to use for tuition. It depends on the technical school if they received money and what it was used for, so it’s worth asking if there is a grant available.

If you want to get a more detailed review of all the grants that are out there for college students, visit our article “Everything You Need to Know About College Grants.”

3. State-specific Scholarships

One of the first places to look for grants or scholarship offered is at Grants By State. Most states have specific scholarships, such as the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars Scholarship, or the Kansas Board of Regents scholarships, which awards 250 vocational educational scholarships.

4. Grants for Minorities

Other grants are more specialized. Students from populations such as the Native Americans, native Hawaiians and Pacific islanders have grants to encourage students in technical education to bring services to those groups. There are also grants set aside specifically for women or minorities entering the technical fields.

5. Scholarships Just For Trade School Students

Some scholarships are awarded to technical school students. These scholarships widely vary. Sallie Mae, one of the nation’s largest student loan companies, offers scholarships that you may qualify for. There is a website that you can search for scholarships on at their handy scholarship page.

Another example is Coke. Coca Cola offers a merit-based two-year program scholarship, and, just in case you’re wondering, their website clearly states that “no, you do not have to be a Coke drinker to qualify.” More information on scholarships such as these can be found at ScholarshipLibrary.com.

6. Scholarships From Companies and Trade Organizations

If you really want to get help with your technical school funding, you might want to look for companies and trade organizations related to the field you are interested in. There are many scholarships out there if you are diligent in your search.

For instance, the National Association of Oil and Energy Service Professionals (OESP) offers scholarships going into the home energy field. The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation offers scholarships to students working towards a certificate or associates degree in the hospitality field, which may include travel and tourism, culinary arts, etc.

If you are able to get involved in an association related to the trade you are pursuing, some of them offer support to students, including scholarships. The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association is an example of this. They award scholarships every year to students who are enrolled in a related program.

How do you find those companies that may offer scholarships related to your field or associations that work with students? Three words: search the internet. Google it, put it in Bing, whatever. You might be surprised what you find.

Hopefully these tips give you a strong start in your search for technical, trade, or vocational school financial aid. If you dream of becoming an interior decorator or a locksmith and are going to go to a technical school to get certified, then follow your dreams. Just make sure you also do your homework first to see if you can get help to pay for those dreams to become a reality.

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