There was a time when women in higher education were few and far between. Although that’s no longer true, many women continue to face uphill battles when it comes to pursuing degrees and, ultimately, furthering their careers.
According to Scholarships.com, women today comprise the majority of college students; however, they typically earn less than men, and fewer hold high-paying jobs as compared to men. In an effort to help close that gap, some organizations offer grants and scholarships specifically geared toward women. The goal? To open up opportunities in leadership positions, advanced programs and traditionally male-dominated industries or jobs.
Looking for a bit of help in finding these opportunities? These four tips can get you started.
1. Search Online
Start by searching online, particularly on sites offering opportunities specific to women. Whether you’ve been out of school for years or are fresh out of high school, these types of grants and scholarships can be a valuable resource when you’re looking to break into the business, engineering, math, science and technology fields. Remember as a good rule of thumb that you should never pay for grant or scholarship searches or applications.
2. Do Your Research
Not all the opportunities out there are going to apply specifically to you: that’s a fact. However, doing your due diligence is likely to reveal the best grant and scholarship opportunities for you. The site Grantsforwomen.org offers a perfect case in point. Featuring a comprehensive search tool, it highlights funding from organizations and foundations such as The American Association of University Women (AAUW), Arcus Foundation, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Girls Global Education Fund (GGEF) and the Business and Professional Women's Foundation.
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3. Consider Federal Grant
Managed by the government’s Department of Health and Human Services, Grants.gov is an e-government initiative that posts discretionary funding opportunities, while offering a clear, easy path through the application process. The site not only streamlines the application process, it also centralizes 1,000 different grant programs from 26 federal grant-making agencies, which award $500 billion-plus annually.
4. Work with Your School
Researching scholarships and grants on your own is important, even necessary. That said, you really don’t have to go it alone. Your school’s financial aid department should be in tune with current funding opportunities and can help you navigate what’s applicable to your situation and what’s not.