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3 college grants you've never heard of

Most colleges aim to keep tuition costs low for every student. But many students still need help to cover a variety of college costs that can create a financial barrier to dreams of a college education.

You may not realize just how many financial resources are available to you – especially as a community college student. Grants are a source of financial support that require no repayment.

Consider three options you might not have known about.

Virginia Two-Year College Transfer Grant

Interested in transferring to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree? You may be eligible for the College Transfer Grant!

Students who graduate from one of Virginia’s Community College System, such as Tidewater Community College, with an associate degree and transfer to a 4-year Virginia college or university can receive up to $2,000 annually through the Virginia Two-Year College Transfer Grant. Most students receive $1,000, but STEM graduates may qualify for an additional $1,000. Some schools, including Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University, provide an additional $1,000 to transfer students.

Financial Aid for Noncredit Training leading to Industry Credentials (FANTIC) Grant

The Financial Aid for Noncredit Training leading to Industry Credentials (FANTIC) Grant is a state-funded pilot program designed to help Virginians receive noncredit training in fields such as carpentry, HVAC/R, clinical medical assisting, welding, trucking and cyber security.

FANTIC provides funding for students who demonstrate financial need and are enrolled in an approved noncredit workforce training program. Eligible students can earn an industry credential at one-third the cost of tuition for short-term training programs. The maximum value of each grant is $3,000 per credential. Seven colleges participate in this opportunity across Virginia, including TCC.  

Commonwealth Grant

The Commonwealth Grant is a state-funded program based on financial need for entering or returning freshmen or transfer students. You must be enrolled at least half-time, demonstrate financial need and be a domiciled resident of Virginia to qualify.

The most important step in receiving this grant is completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) as quickly as possible. Filing your FAFSA by the priority deadline (TCC’s is March 1) gives you a better chance of qualifying for these funds. While actual awards vary by institution and need, students generally receive up to $1,000.

You must apply for financial aid and submit the FAFSA to be considered for grants. Funds for most programs are limited, so apply early! Your college’s financial aid office can provide information on eligibility and application processes for federal, state and local financial aid programs.