Financial Aid for a Computer Science Major: Paying for Your Education

Financial Aid for Computer Science Majors

Are you a potential computer science major seeking financial help for your education? There are a range of opportunities for financial assistance available including, financial aid, scholarships, grants, student loans, and GI military benefits. Below we have provided brief descriptions on just a few of the avenues you might consider.

Getting Started with FASA

As with any discipline, the place to start your computer science financial aid search is with the federal government. Whether you are preparing for an undergraduate or graduate computer science program, you’ll need to complete the FAFSA, which will determine the types and amount of federal aid for which you qualify.

Federal aid includes grants, work-study awards, and loans, and believe it or not, it’s the largest single source of available aid and the best source of financial help for computer science majors. In order to determine your eligibility, be sure to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st of the year in which you intend to enroll.

In addition to loans through the government, you can also receive student loans from your private lending institutions. You can find more information about FAFSA by visiting their website, as well as consulting your school’s advisement office.

Scholarships for Computer Science Majors

Beyond federal aid, we enter into the terrain of grants and computer scholarships, a potentially lucrative, though often competitive, source of aid for computer science majors. Use your computer skills and start searching now! A bevy of online scholarship search engines are literally at your fingertips; use them.

At the national level, many corporations, including Microsoft, award scholarships to bright young computer science majors. Local and national businesses are also good scholarship sources, as well as the College Board’s scholarship search, which provides a list of available opportunities. Additionally, some places of employment may offer tuition reimbursement, and so it might be a good idea to inquire with your employer to see if this is an option.

When seeking financial aid, don’t overlook your school as a potential source. Many computer science, IT, and computer engineering programs award merit-based scholarships to their most promising undergraduate and graduate computer science majors. (Some of these awards are underwritten by organizations such as the National Science Foundation.) Need-based awards are often available, as well.

Women Computer Science Majors, GI Benefits, and Research Fellowships

Since it is still a field of study perceived as male dominated, unique financial aid opportunities abound for women eager to flex their tech-savvy in a computer science or IT program at a postsecondary institution. For instance, CRA-W, or the Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research, provides a list of awards and computer scholarships that are earmarked for women computer science majors.

Furthermore, if you are a veteran, you are eligible for government benefits under the GI Bill, and many schools have tuition packages and scholarships especially for military personnel. Also, if you’re heading off to graduate school as a computer science major, look into potential fellowship opportunities as a source of financial help. Research or teaching assistantships may also be an option. To find out what’s available, check with your target schools, and be aware that you may need to complete a separate application for award consideration.

Making It Work

When it comes to securing financial aid, keep one thing in mind; It’s essential to start early and pay heed to all application deadlines. As a computer science major, there are plenty of financial aid opportunities out there. However, the most money goes to the students who make a concerted effort to find it! Do your research, and good luck.