Online Journalism College Grants
Journalism is one of the most popular online degree programs for distance education students. With a journalism degree, you’ll qualify for a number of jobs, including newspaper reporting, magazine writing, photojournalism, editing, public relations, publishing, and more. Although online programs are typically less expensive than going to school at a traditional college, these courses can still cost thousands of dollars. For students in financial need, journalism grants can really help to cut down the costs, making education possible.
Grants are different from scholarships, though neither has to be repaid after graduation, as you’ll find with student loans. Unlike scholarships, which are given out based on merit, the main qualification for grants is financial need. That means that you can get money for school even if you don’t have top-notch grades or special talents. Grants are available from a number of sources.
One of the best ways to get a grant for college is through the Federal Pell Grant program. Run by the government, this program gives money for education to all students who qualify wholly based on financial need. The Federal Pell Grant looks at your family’s financial situation in relation to all other applications across the country to determine how much money you’ll receive from the fund. This money is available to all students, regardless of major, as long as your school is accredited, so online journalism students are more than qualified to apply in most cases. Fortunately, since most online journalism programs cost a fraction of what journalism programs at most universities cost, being awarded the Federal Pell Grant can cover all of your expenses in many cases.
Outside of the Federal Pell Grant, a number of organizations offer grants to journalism students, many of which have the same application process. These include the following organizations:
- Knight Foundation
- American Journalism Review
- Fund for Investigative Journalism
- The Fund for Free Expression
- Alicia Patterson Foundation Program
- Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
- Association of Electronic Journalists
- Society of Professional Journalists
To qualify for many of these grants, you must have specific research projects in mind where you’ll use the money, and some require experience in the field. However, since many online journalism students choose to return to school for an advanced degree, these programs might apply to you, so it’s a good list to keep in mind down the road.
There are also organizations not related to journalism that offer degrees to students regardless of your college major. For some of these programs, you may qualify based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or other personal characteristics, along with your financial need. College grants can additionally come directly from your online school. Each school or college within a university (i.e. School of Journalism) usually offers their own grants to students in need. Since part of each university’s budget goes to the individual schools within it, you may be able to get need-based grants at a university level and at a refined level within your own program. Many online learning programs offer online journalism college grants to students who show promise in this area but need financial aid to continue going to school.
College grants often have a more time-consuming application process, requiring much more detail and information about your finances when you apply. However, with just a single grant, you might be able to completely pay for your college tuition and other expenses. Some even cover living expenses so you don’t have to work full-time while taking classes. If you qualify for a grant, apply to it, even if you think it is a long shot that your application will be successful or even if the money award is just a small amount. Every little bit helps when you’re paying for your education. Almost all students in college are there through a combination of loans, scholarships, and grants, so even if your grant awards are very small, they can play an integral part to paying for school. Additionally, it’s useful to know which grant applications to spend the most time on, which you can determine by understanding the requirements and the potential gain from succeeding.
Just remember to keep your eyes open for as many grant opportunities as possible. The earlier you submit your application, the better shot you have at obtaining these competitive awards. As long as you stay diligent and refine your writing before submitting, you should be on the path to succeeding.
What to Expect When Applying For Grants
Since grants are need-based, you will sometimes have to go through a fairly arduous process to secure them. It’s recommended to have copies of your parent’s financial records on hand when looking at what you may qualify for. Many grant applications will specifically ask for how much they earned, how much they paid in taxes, and similar questions to gain a better idea as to how in need of financial support one is. Be sure to have your tax return information on hand as well if you’ve been working while in high school or if you’ve been out of school for a few years.
Filing as Independent
Once you’ve turned 24, FAFSA will recognize you as no longer dependent on your parents, which opens up more grant opportunities. As an independent, you will likely qualify for large Federal Pell Grants for being a young individual with relatively small income. If you’re very concerned about paying for school, it might be worthwhile to take some time off until you’re of an age to file as independent and get these lucrative grants. This has been a very common route in recent years for one reason or another, especially as the economy has taken a turn for the worse and ushered older generations back into college.
Ultimately, paying for college will be defined by a unique combination of loans, grants, scholarships, and money from out of pocket. Once you can learn to juggle these different responsibilities, you can surely make the dream come true of attaining a journalism degree online with the financing you need to be successful.