Grants are generally tax-exempt funds that are usually given by nonprofit organizations. They are intended for many purposes, such as helping people in financial need or funding a research project or business venture, but are also used as financial aid for higher education. These funds do not have to be re-paid and usually have no conditions attached to them beyond the initial qualification and sometimes a proposal written to the donor of the grant. There are many sources of this free money that can help you finance your architecture school education.
Many colleges and universities set aside grant money to students who can demonstrate financial need, who can contribute exceptional academic ability, or who can help to diversify the student body. Check to see whether you are eligible for any such grants available at architecture schools to which you are planning to apply.
Many professional architecture associations offer research grants to architecture students. For example, the Boston Society of Architects Research Grants in Architecture program offers grants of $2,000 for students and up to $10,000 for collaborative teams who are interested in practice-based and practice-oriented research. The American Architectural Foundation’s Accent on Architecture Grants program supports local projects that result in engagement between the public, decision-makers, and design professionals. The National Concrete Masonry Association offers grants to architecture schools willing to organize a concrete masonry design competition for architecture students.
The federal government provides Pell Grants to students who can prove economic hardship. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form, which every student should complete, will determine whether you qualify. Most of these grants go to students with a total family income of less than $20,000, although students with a total family income of up to $50,000 are eligible. The maximum Pell Grant amount for the 2010-11 award year is $5,500, although the amount you receive depends on factors such as your school expenses, whether you are a full- or part-time student, and whether you are attending for a full academic year or less.
Many states run lottery games in which the profits are intended for education. Therefore, many state governments also provide educational aid grants, usually for disadvantaged students, minorities, and students majoring in a high-need field of study.
Your high school counselor or college financial aid department should be able to direct you to grants given out by other organizations for which you might qualify.
Last Updated: 04/30/2013