Becoming a Police Officer: Scholarships
There is another way to finance your education that does not entail taking a job or paying back a loan. These are scholarships. As discussed in the workstudy section, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the basic document that helps you determine the types of aid for which you are qualified and how much aid you may receive, whether in the form of grants, work-study awards, or loans. At the same time you are working your way through the FAFSA procedures, you should also be looking into scholarships as another way to help you pay your way through school.
Truthfully, there is not much funding from within the law enforcement community for students who are not in-service police officers. That does not mean, though, that your entire education must be financed out of your own pocket. Federal, state, or local police fraternal groups of women and minority officers may have scholarship programs. Although each group may have only a handful of scholarships available, they are generally not well-publicized, so checking with these groups may result in a small amount of funding directly. Many of the professional associations described in Appendix A provide small scholarships to applicants who match their criteria. In addition to the national groups, local chapters may also assist you. Some scholarships are restricted to the children of members; others will consider any applicant with an interest in a law enforcement career. For instance, the National Sheriff's Association's (NSA) scholarship program is open to employees in sheriffs' offices across the country as well as their children. State sheriffs' associations also sponsor scholarships, awarding them to applicants in law enforcement programs and to upper level criminal justice majors.
Even if the group cannot help you directly, a group member may introduce you to local businesspeople or civic associations that will help you either directly with funds or through part-time employment to help defray your costs. If you are the spouse, child, or in any way related to someone currently in law enforcement, you may be eligible for scholarships set aside specifically for this purpose.
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