When most students think about the Department of Education (DOE) grant program, they probably think about traditional college campuses and community colleges. While many college students receive grants from the Education Department and other organizations provide scholarships to help pay for an undergraduate degree, many students at vocational institutes can also receive grants. Students must attend a diesel mechanic school that’s accredited by the DOE to qualify, and must demonstrate the same financial need as traditional college students to qualify.
A student who attends an accredited mechanic school may qualify to receive Pell Grant funds from DOE. A student may receive up to $5,500 each school year in tuition assistance, although the award amount varies between students. DOE determines a student’s grant amount based on the cost of attendance at his vocational institute, his family’s overall financial resources and how many members of his household attend college or vocational institutions. There are no academic qualifications for a Pell Grant.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
Diesel mechanic students who qualify for the maximum amount of Pell Grant aid may also qualify for the Federal Supplemental Education Grant (FSEOG). Students can receive between $100 and $4,000 annually in addition to Pell Grant funding, although policies at a student’s vocational institute may limit the total amount of FSEOG funding she may accept, regardless of eligibility. As with Pell Grants, FSEOG awards are based upon a household’s earnings and savings, and are only granted in situations of extreme financial need.
Perkins Basic State Grants
DOE funds Perkins Basic State Grants for students who attend qualifying vocational education programs such as diesel mechanic training. Grant eligibility and amounts vary between states. Consult your state’s department of education for information on the application process and awards. Basic State Grants are earmarked so that 85 percent are given to students of vocational institutes.
Applying for Federal Grants
Students and their families who hope to qualify for a grant from the Department of Education must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This measures a student’s household income and other financial resources, such as savings, and compares this to expected costs of education. Information and application forms are available online.
Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.