Becoming a Police Officer: Scholarships, Grants, and Programs (page 2)
This money is awarded to students for a wide variety of reasons, including good grades, financial need, future career plans, ancestry, and even hobbies.
Money for scholarships and grants is available for just about every student. Anything from being in the top 10% of your high school graduating class to playing the piano could make you eligible. And while they probably won't be the sole means of financing your college education (most range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a year), scholarships and grants should not be overlooked as a source of financing.
Just the Facts
The Pell Grant is designed to assist students with exceptional financial need. In the academic year 2008–2009, six million students received Pell Grants ranging from $431 to $4,731. To determine whether you might fall within the income limits for a Pell Grant, make sure to check online or to ask your campus financial advisor. There is no stigma attached to taking the money if you are eligible. The program exists specifically to help low-income students attend college.
One scholarship that considers ancestry is awarded by The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). A scholarship is given to a high school senior, male or female, who is African American, has a minimum GPA of 2.5 and is planning to study criminal justice, law, or a related field. Financial need is a consideration. NOBLE's various chapters throughout the country offer about 35 similar scholarships. For further information, write to:
- Noble National Office
- 4609 Pinecrest Office Park Drive, Suite F
- Alexandria, VA 22312-1442
Women going into a career in law enforcement might apply for a scholarship with the National Association of Law Enforcement Executives (www.nawlee.com), while those with a sports background could contact the NCAA at 913-339-1906 to find out about scholarships and other funding for athletes.
However, the best way to find scholarship and grant money is to use the Internet. You enter the appropriate information about yourself, and a search will take place which will give you a list of those awards for which you are eligible. If you want to expand your search, your high school guidance counselors or college financial aid officers also have plenty of information about available scholarship and grant money.
Just the Facts
Campus-based aid is administered through the school rather than directly by the government. Participating schools are free to set rules, restrictions, and regulations as long as they comply with federal guidelines. In the case of the Federal Work Study Program, the government makes funds available to schools and other organizations, which in turn provide jobs and tuition remission to qualifying students. Other campus-based aid programs include the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) and the Federal Perkins Loan program. FSEOGS are given primarily to students who qualify for Pell Grants, while the Perkins loans are made in the $4,000 to $6,000 range at 5% interest. The basic requirements for these and most federal aid include being a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a Social Security number. You must also have a high school diploma or a GED.
The Student Educational Employment Program, administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, his been streamlined into two separate programs used by various federal agencies as disparate as the Defense Contract Management Agency and the Bureau of Land Management and frequently leads to entry-level jobs. The assistance is available to virtually all levels of students, from those in high school, vocational or technical schools, and students pursuing an associate, baccalaureate, graduate, or professional degree. There are two types of assistance. One is designed to provide temporary employment during the school year or during summer vacations as long as the student remains in school. The second type offers the opportunity to engage in work directly related to your major field of study.
The Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) must be renewed annually and the work you do is not necessarily related to your academic work. The Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) is a partnership involving the student and the agency. Work duties are designed to relate to your studies, including formal periods of work and study while attending school. This allows you to stay in school, obtain related on-the-job experience, and be paid for the work. It may also lead to permanent employment after you graduate.
The STEP and SCEP programs have similar eligibility requirements. You must be enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, as a degree-seeking student, whether for a diploma, certificate, or another completion document. You must be at least sixteen years old, and be at least a halftime student at an accredited educational institution. The institution can be a high school, a technical or vocational school, a community college, a four-year college or university, or a graduate or professional school. You must maintain a 2.0 grade point average and be a U.S. citizen. Non-citizens may be considered if they are eligible to work in this country under U.S. immigration laws and if no qualified U.S. citizens are available for the position.
The National Guard
Another approach to work-study programs involves serving with the National Guard. Specifics vary from state to state, but enlisting with the National Guard can bring an enlistment bonus that can be used toward tuition or paying off an existing student loan. Credits can be earned toward tuition at in-state colleges, career training that qualifies for college credit, and a monthly paycheck. Service with the National Guard is prized by many law enforcement agencies, which will be a plus when you apply for a job.
Be mindful, though, that National Guard units are mobilized for emergencies such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and blizzards. If that happens, your regular routine—including attending classes—may be disrupted. National Guard units have also been deployed overseas, including to Afghanistan and Iraq; some personnel serve as long as a year or 18 months. While this can be a financially and emotionally enriching endeavor, it is not without risks.