There are a few different ways to get financial aid for trade school including scholarships, government grants, and student loans. This article also includes information about the Workforce Investment Act and the GI Bill.

Types of Financial Aid for Trade School

The three major types of financial aid available for trade school programs are government grants, scholarships, or private and government loans. This section contains general information about each type.

Government Grants

Thought of as ‘gift aid’ because the money is free and doesn’t require repayment. Grants are generally based on need and not scholarship.

  • Workforce Development Grant – Applied for through your state, awards up to $7,500 per year.
  • Blue Ribbon Grant – Designed to recognize and assist veterans, active duty military personnel, and other related individuals. Awards up to $15,000 per year.


Scholarships are normally given to students with high academic/test scores and outstanding ability in their chosen field. Most scholarships require the student to remain in good academic standing. However, scholarships are not solely based on academic/test scores but can also consider other factors such as extracurricular activities, leadership qualities, and community involvement.

Student Loans

Student loans require reimbursement and the interest rate varies depending if the loan is privately or federally funded.  It’s very important to understand the the terms and conditions of a student loan, including repayment plans and interest rates.

We encourage you to explore federal loans before private loans due to, potentially, more favorable terms.

Getting Financial Aid for Trade School

You get financial aid from your school. Trade schools and colleges normally have their own aid which can be applied for in scholarship, grant or loan form. There are also state and federal government funds awarded to students who need help with tuition. Don’t be shy, just talk to your potential school about your financial aid options. An admissions representative or a financial aid adviser will be able to help you.

Private schools can have great financial aid programs so don’t be discouraged right away by the price of any particular program. These funds are available both on need and accomplishment basis. Visit each of your potential schools websites, and look for their price-calculator(most schools have them). For an accurate estimation, you may need your tax documents to complete the calculations.

Where To Start: FAFSA

You have to start off by applying for the FAFSA. –

Applying for the FAFSA can be done online, or via ground mail. The FAFSA is a time-consuming process but your potential school’s financial adviser will be able to help you make this process more efficient. The sooner your application is submitted, the more aid you may receive.

Important Considerations:

  • Fill the FAFSA First! – before applying for any other grants or scholarships apply for the FAFSA; all potential awards are based on your FAFSA form.
  • Apply for FAFSA early, as some financial aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • FAFSA is a free application, and you should be cautious of websites or services charging fees for assistance with FAFSA.

Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act

Read into the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Adults and Dislocated Workers Program. Funds are often available for vocational school and other career training programs . These funds are offered at the state level and are used to help train individuals for new vocations when they are unable to get a job in their current industry, with their current skills.

Eligibility criteria and application processes for the Workforce Development Grant may vary by state.

For information about Workforce Innovation & Opportunity, visit an American Job Center. Locations and phone numbers for American Job Centers can be found through America’s Service Locator. American Job Centers provide a range of employment-related services, not just information about WIOA. This includes job search assistance, career counseling, and training programs.

The GI Bill

The GI Bill can be used for:

  • Associate’s through advanced degrees
  • Non-degree programs such as trade school
  • Apprenticeships
  • Work study programs
  • And more

Veterans should check the specific requirements and processes for using their GI Bill benefits. Some schools may have specific procedures for handling these benefits.

Make sure the school you plan on attending accepts your GI Bill benefits before you apply. Talk to someone in the admissions office and they’ll be able to answer your questions.

Find a trade school near me.


We added to and verified the information in this article in January of 2024.