Many people may be missing out on the opportunities that grants enable because they don,t know what grants are available, don,t think they qualify, or don,t know how to go about applying.
The following article will briefly cover different types of free minority grants, as well as how you can qualify and apply for them.
In addition to all of the general scholarships offered by colleges, companies, and the government, minority students may qualify for special educational grants. These grants might be issued by the government, by businesses, or by ethnic organizations. Students may have a better chance of receiving one of these grants than receiving a scholarship, because the field of competing applicants is narrower. Unlike scholarships, grants are generally awarded based on need more than merit, although certain academic requirements still need to be met. This means that lower income students who haven,t qualified for a traditional scholarship still have a good chance of receiving a form of aid. When many people think of minority educational grants, they probably think of ethnic grants that are tailored to African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, or Asians. However, there are also grants available to non-ethnic minorities, such as people with disabilities and women.
If you,re hoping to qualify for a minority educational grant, it,s important to turn in a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This form analyzes your assets and your cost of education to determine what your need is. Most students will qualify for loans, but students with high demonstrated need may also qualify for grants. You can fill out the form by phone or online at http://www.fafsa.com. Some grants are given on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it,s important to have your forms submitted well before the January deadline.
Small Business Grants
Minority business grants are also available to help minority entrepreneurs get started. However, these grants are much harder to qualify for than minority educational grants. A business must meet strict criteria and show a strong plan for growth to be considered for a grant. Furthermore, many grants are not completely free, in the sense that they may only be given on the condition that the business makes a matching contribution, either with their own funds or by taking out a loan. However, these grants still can give a qualified business a substantial leg up. Many states and local organizations offer grants to small businesses in general as well as minority small businesses. Often, it can be more fruitful to start by looking at your options close to home, where there will be less competition over each grant.
The Minority Business Development Agency can be a great resource for people applying for small business grants. While this agency doesn,t directly issue the grants, they offer services like financial counseling to help minority business owners position themselves to qualify for grants. The organization also gives grants to its Minority Business Centers, which are located throughout the country, and can in turn help provide advice and funding to minority small businesses.
The U.S. Small Business Administration also issues grants to fund minority-owned businesses. You can find plenty of general resources on making a business plan, searching for funding, and otherwise getting your business started on the SBA website. You can also search for government small business grants and loans online at http://www.sba.gov/loans-and-grants.
Planning And Persistence Are Crucial
Figuring out where to find grants, which grants you qualify for, and how to apply for them can be daunting. The best advice for people seeking minority grants is to first make use of any resources that are available to you. For instance, you might visit a Minority Business Center if you are trying to start a business, or talk to a financial aid counselor at your school if you are a student. If you are hoping to be awarded an educational grant, it,s important to provide complete and accurate information and follow all application deadlines. If you are applying for a small business grant, you need to present yourself and your business in the best possible light, which means developing a strong business plan and having all your financial documents in order.
It,s also important to accept that finding and applying for grants truly takes effort and commitment. You need to be willing to dedicate a fair portion of your time and try multiple times, because most likely, some of your applications are going to be rejected. If you expect to receive free minority grants with minimal effort on your part, you are going to be disappointed. Ultimately, your success will probably depend on your being prepared and taking the time to apply for as many grants as you can.