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Free Money for College

This time of year we start thinking about school starting again, and about the costs of school—especially college.

If you have a student attending—or considering attending—college this year or next, now is a good time to start planning and researching your options for grants and scholarships. With college tuition dramatically rising every year, it’s more important than ever to maximize these sources of free money for college. The trick is finding the grants and scholarships available and then filling out the applications to meet the deadlines.

Your first stop should be the school’s financial aid office. They can help you with deadlines, information required, and available programs.


Grants make educational funds, from small to large amounts, available to in-need students. Grant funding can be sourced from Federal and state governments, from the colleges and universities themselves, and from public and private organizations.

Grants fall into four categories:

  • Student-specific grants
  • Subject-specific grants
  • Degree-level grants
  • Minority grants

The Pell Grant is perhaps the most popular and widely known grant. The amount granted is a calculation based on the family’s income and whether the student will be full- or part-time. Check here for more information and to apply. You must apply by June 30, 2013, for the 2013 fall school semester. However, don’t wait until then! There’s a limited amount of grant money available, so apply as soon as you can after January 1, 2013.

The FAFSA application is necessary for most grant programs, including Pell Grants.

Native Hawaiians are eligible for specific Federal grants for college. For more information, go to the Federal grants website. You may need the birthdates and birth locations of your native ancestors.

The State of Hawaii also offers a grant for underprivileged students who reside in Hawaii and who will attend college in Hawaii.

Those are just a few examples. Grants are available for students majoring in certain courses of study (math, teaching, nursing, foreign language, science, technology, etc.); for minorities (African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and women); for specific athletic sports (track and field, tennis, bowling, and many more); for students with disabilities, both physical and mental; for help with housing, living expenses, and supplies.


Just like grants, scholarships are available for students in the same above categories and, unlike grants, are not necessarily need-based. Once again, filing a FAFSA is necessary. The more applications for scholarships you send in, the more likely you’ll receive one. Don’t limit yourself to large scholarships—you may be more eligible, and have a greater chance at success, with multiple small scholarships.

Colleges and universities in Hawaii include (click through to their websites):

University of Hawai’i at Manoa
Universityof Hawai’i at Hilo
University of Hawai’i West O’ahu
Hawaii Community College
Honolulu Community College
Kaua’i Community College
Leeward Community College
Maui College
Windward Community College

A number of private universities also have campuses in Hawaii.

For more information on grants and scholarships, explore these websites:



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