Community College Students Can Get Scholarships, Too

There are aid options available for those choosing to start at two-year schools.

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More and more students are choosing community colleges for their postsecondary education option—and who can blame them? Community colleges offer opportunities to earn professional certificates, skills, and degrees at reasonable cost. They can also be a great bargain for students who ultimately want to transfer their credits to earn a four-year degree.

[Read more about saving money by starting at community college.]

In the spirit of keeping college bargain priced, here are four scholarships focused on community college, transfer, and/or students in their second year of college and beyond.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund: The Hispanic Scholarship Fund offers more than 30 different scholarships for community college and transfer students, with varying eligibility requirements and deadlines. The HSF/ExxonMobil scholarship is still open for 2011 applicants through May 21; outstanding Latino students (minimum 3.2 GPA/4.0 scale) selected for these awards will receive $2,500 to major in Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Petroleum Engineering. Preference will be given to students planning to attend certain colleges.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation: Community college students who are planning to transfer to a four-year college or university may be eligible for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships. The foundation provides up to $30,000 per year to each student selected for the scholarship; up to 50 scholarships have been awarded per year. Awards are intended to cover a large portion of the student's ongoing education expenses, such as tuition, fees, books, and living expenses for the final two or three years of ongoing education. Awards vary based on the cost of tuition and other scholarships and grants students receive. To be eligible, students must be nominated by a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Faculty Representative at their two-year institution, so get to know that person!

[Get more tips and advice on paying for college.]

Washington NASA Space Grant Community College Transfer Scholarships: Community college students planning to transfer to the University of Washington to continue their studies in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics may be eligible for this competitive scholarship program awarded by the Washington NASA Space Grant program. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are awarded for one year at a time. Recipients may apply for a renewal for one additional year, depending on availability of funding.

Maryland Community College Transfer Student Hope Scholarship: Maryland students currently attending Maryland community colleges may receive a "transfer scholarship" as an incentive for them to enroll in a Maryland four-year college or university as a full-time undergraduate. The scholarship is $3,000 per academic year (renewable for one additional year), and can be applied to tuition, fees, room, board, books, and supplies. Additional eligibility requirements include Maryland residency, completion of 60+ credit hours, minimum 3.0 GPA, and application for scholarship within one year of completing required credit hours or associate's degree program from a Maryland community college. (For more information, see this transfer scholarship guide for Maryland community college students.

While the latter two on this list are college- and/or state-specific programs, don't forget to check with your own community college to see if there are similar transfer incentives for which you may be eligible! Your financial aid office should have a good list of additional opportunities for you to consider, too

Janine Fugate joined Scholarship America in 2002. She is an alumna of the College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minn., and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Fugate is the recipient of numerous scholarships at both the undergraduate and graduate level.