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Finding grants for continuing education

At a glance

  • Continuing education is an all-encompassing list of postsecondary programs and learning, including certificates, degrees, research, workshops and more.
  • Grants are financial resources for college students that generally do not need to be repaid.
  • If you’re interested in applying for a federal grant, the best place to start is by filling out a FAFSA form. Check if your state offers its own financial aid programs with a separate application process.
  • Find out what you’re eligible to save at University of Phoenix using the new Savings Explorer® tool!

In many cases, continuing education (CE) is an opportunity for people to further their academic and career pursuits by increasing their academic knowledge and strengthening their skills. In others, CE is necessary for licensure, recertification or staying up to date in one’s profession. Teaching, mental health care, nursing, accounting and a host of other professions often require individuals in these fields to continually pursue continuing education.  

Continuing education comes in many forms, from the more formal graduate degrees, certificates and research to less intensive seminars, workshops and courses offered through professional organizations. Above all, the various forms of CE help professionals enhance their skills and learning. One key difference is the cost and how professionals pay for continuing education. Secondary and post-degree programs often require tuition, and some professionals may opt for financial aid to help make their CE program more affordable. 

Grants can be invaluable for adult students looking to further their education. They differ from other types of financial aid, like loans, as they are free money with generally no requirement for repayment. In addition, many returning adult students qualify for grants if their circumstances meet specific criteria.

However, knowing where to look for grants or what to look for can be challenging. So, consider the following a guide to finding grants to help fund your education.

Use our Savings Explorer Tool® to see if your work, life and school experiences can give you a head start on your degree.  

Start by filling out the FAFSA form

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is the first step toward qualifying for financial aid, including federal grants. Before completing the FAFSA form, you are encouraged to create an FSA ID. The FSA ID is a username and password that allows you to identify yourself electronically to access the U.S. Department of Education systems and to electronically sign your FAFSA form.

The FAFSA application helps you potentially qualify for federal grants and other forms of aid from the government and your college or university. This may include grants specifically for adult learners and grants geared toward a particular field of study, such as business or nursing.


Grants for education assistance

Grants can offer an excellent option for students seeking financial assistance. Unlike student loans, they are typically awarded by the government or state agency and generally do not need to be repaid.

Grants for college can differ from scholarships because they are primarily awarded based on financial need rather than academic performance. However, some scholarships are also need based. In addition, a wide variety of available scholarships target specific groups of students, such as veterans, single parents and those underrepresented in higher education. For example, some scholarships are dedicated explicitly to funding master's degrees, making them an ideal way to pay for continuing education. These options are not specifically awarded or discovered through the FAFSA application process and will have to be researched and applied for separately.

Federal Pell Grants

The Federal Pell Grant program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education and can provide up to $7,395 per year for students with demonstrated financial need for the 2023-2024 school year (this amount may change each federal financial aid award year). These grants generally do not need to be repaid, which makes them an attractive option for students who cannot afford to pay out of pocket for their college education.

To qualify for a Pell Grant, students must show they have financial need. Eligibility also depends on factors such as enrollment status and family size. To apply, simply fill out the FAFSA application online or speak with your school’s financial aid office for more information about applying for a Pell Grant.

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Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

The FSEOG grant provides money to undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered through individual colleges and universities. The maximum FSEOG grant award is $4,000 per year, depending on other forms of financial aid the student receives and the institution attended. Talk with the financial aid office at your college to better understand what your school might award.

To be eligible for an FSEOG grant, applicants must complete a FAFSA application and demonstrate exceptional financial need. Other factors such as family size, enrollment status and expected family contribution will also be considered when determining whether a student qualifies for an FSEOG grant. Many schools have limited funding available, so you will want to complete your FAFSA application as early as possible to be considered for FSEOG funds.

State-specific grant options

Some states offer their own financial aid programs, separate from those provided on the federal level. These can include grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness programs.

For example, some states have need-based grants, such as the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority College Access Program Grant. Other states have career-specific grants, such as the Healthy Oregon Workforce Training Opportunity Grant, which helps students enrolled in certain health and education programs.

You will want to check with your specific state entity to determine if you qualify for any need-based grants that they may offer.


Find grant foundations near you

You can visit online resources such as Community Foundation Locator or to find charitable organizations and foundations that may offer grants in your community. These useful sites provide information about the types of funding available, eligibility requirements and application deadlines.

You can also check with the financial aid office at your school to see if local foundations have partnered with your institution to offer grants, scholarships or other forms of aid.

By investing a bit of time into researching options, you may be able to secure additional funds for college that could help you save money and make your education more affordable.

Start saving money on your degree at University of Phoenix

Looking for more help saving money while going to school? Discover ways to save money on your degree at University of Phoenix (UOPX), including the free Savings Explorer® tool.

Ways to save at UOPX include:

  • College transfer credits from accredited universities and colleges
  • Over 1,500 alliance organizations that provide employee tuition assistance
  • Credit for eligible military training
  • Credit for relevant personal and professional experience
  • Up to $3,000 in scholarships for qualifying students
  • Lower-cost general education courses from alternative credit providers
  • Credits from national testing exams

Going to school as a nontraditional student isn’t easy (hello, kids and work!), but resources like these college-savings options prove it’s also possible. It’s just a matter of figuring out the right approach for you.


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