Funding college is a family burden regardless of the family situation and having an incarcerated member only compounds the difficulty. If the person was the families main bread winner, paying for college may seem impossible, but it need not be! Achieving this goal takes hard work and creativity on the part of the student, but it is very doable. Many famous people come from humble backgrounds or struggled through difficult times to succeed. Through personal industry they pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps and thrived in life. This is a matter of desire more than it is finances. As fellow Ohioan and self educated “bootstrapper” Thomas Edison said, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” You have to want it; settle for nothing less.
In addition to the obvious scholastic or athletic based scholarships or even the old fashioned “get a job” approach, there are many organizations offering small grants for putting thousands of dollars in the college fund. Many grants are based on economic need, but grants exist for being in a certain ethnic group or being related to a veteran of a certain war or struggled with a particular medical issue. There’s even a Foundation offering small one time grants for students with an incarcerated parent!
The Creative Corrections Educational Foundation (CCEF)
This foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Beaumont, Texas providing new opportunities for at-risk kids of incarcerated parents who otherwise are extremely likely to participate in criminal activities.
By providing the possibility of a better future, including academics, financial, legal and social success, we are able to empower these young men and women to change their lives. Their goal is to promote “Education verses Incarceration”.
The foundation currently has Texas Department of Corrections, New Mexico Department of Corrections, Ohio Department of Corrections , New York Department of Corrections , Colorado Department of Corrections, and Milwaukee House of Corrections on board with supporting the foundation.
CCEF only supports those students who are enrolled full-time during the academic school year. Online courses are not permitted. Applications will be on a first come first served basis, and based on the needs of each individual applicant. A typical grant size is $1000.
For more information, visit the CCEF website.
There are thousands of grants available, but they aren’t always easy to find and it does take time and patience. To find these groups, enter “college grants” or “student financial aid” or your own applicable terms into your favorite search engine. Here’s very short list.
Note: Like any other industry there are unscrupulous operators trying to exploit the situation. Before you send money or detailed personal information learn about the organization. Your local high school guidance counselor or college entrance department may be able to provide more information.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net