What if I asked you, what’s the one thing that can directly contribute to improving your future? What would you say? Many ex-convicts might answer: going back to school, getting a degree or earning a professional certification in a vocational skill. And if that’s your answer, you are right! Only problem is, college is expensive, especially for felons who are all too often struggling just to make ends meet! That’s why we’re here to offer you some information on scholarships for felons…
Scholarships for Felons
Transformation Through Education… Yes, education can transform lives. And for those who’ve spent years behind bars, a transformation may be in order. Maybe you are having trouble getting a job, or getting one that pays the bills. Maybe you dream of a specific career but don’t yet have to skills or degree needed to even apply. Getting those skills or that certificate or degree is not impossible. But the hard part can be obtaining the funding. Well, nothing beats free money and believe it or not, there’s a lot of that floating around.
It makes sense, from the wider perspective, to help felons get a second change, by offering monies to further their education. Think about it. A felon with a great job is far less likely to become a repeat offender than an unemployed felon, right? It’s a no-brainer.
Nonetheless, some scholarships and grants don’t allow felons to apply for them. For example, some felons may be ineligible for the popular, federal Pell Grant program.
That’s why there are agencies out there which help felons get scholarship funding. These philanthropic groups offer to give felons a boost, to get them on a successful education track so that they can better reintegrate after their sentence is over. With a college certification or, better yet, a full university degree in hand, any convict’s odds of gainful employment skyrocket!
Let’s Get to the Money
Alright, so let’s talk turkey. Some scholarships are small, maybe only enough to cover books for one term. Others can pay a term of tuition, and still others may be “full ride” scholarships which pay for literally everything. Naturally these are the most competitive, which is why we recommend applying for as many scholarships as possible, regardless of the size or amount offered. Every little bit helps, and a $250 check is better than no check at all.
While we consider scholarships for felons, we should also pay attention to federal grants. Grants are not loans; they don’t have to be paid back. But technically they aren’t scholarships, either. They just behave the same way! Since some felony convictions can disqualify an individual for consideration of a scholarship, it’s very worthwhile to consider the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration opportunities. Grants and other federal aid can be obtained by submitting an application for these.
Specific Private Scholarships for Felons
There are thousands of private scholarships for students to apply for, and many of them are open to persons with felony backgrounds. Here are a few examples:
Benjamin and Patricia Allen Scholarship
The Benjamin and Patricia Allen Scholarship is a $1,000 payment offered for students who are the very first of their family to go off and attend a university. This unique scholarship is not limited only to felons, however, since statistically many felons come from underprivileged backgrounds, often it is felons who receive these monies. Donors include various businesspersons who tend to look for students in a business-related degree category.
Charles W. Colson Scholarship
The Christian school of Wheaton College offers their Charles W. Colson Scholarship to felons who are committed to having a closer relationship with God. Located in Illinois, the school has an open call for felons to apply to their ministries program. Tuition credits may be applied to grad and undergrad degrees.
Jeremy Gordon’s Commitment to Change College Scholarship
The Law Office of Jeremy Gordon offers its Commitment to Change College Scholarship four times a year, with the hopes of setting prior convicts on a better path. In fact, even convicts who are currently serving their sentence may apply and use the benefits, as long as they are working towards a degree while in prison. The scholarship is geared towards those attending Adams State University.
A Few Last Points About Scholarships for Felons
The above listings obviously are just a drop in the bucket, to give felons a basic idea of what to expect when seeking scholarships…and to encourage you to consider private scholarships, even smaller ones. It truly does all add up, and there are few prohibitions to getting money from more than one source. So go ahead; apply for as many as you can!
Very few things in our lives can directly contribute to our prosperous lives more than furthering our education. It’s an investment in our own future, and in fact, an investment in our family’s future, too. The more financially secure we are, the better we’re able to position ourselves to assist our loved ones. So it makes sense to strongly consider getting back into the classroom to learn something new, as quickly as possible.