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Financing your Education: Criminal Justice Edition

Financing your Education: Criminal Justice Edition


Do you intend to be part of the police force?

Would you consider being connected to a federal law enforcement agency?

How about going into state law enforcement?

If you answered any of these questions in affirmative, then criminal justice can be a stepping stone for you. Say, you already have your career mapped out. But financing your education in this field of study has become a roadblock for you. Wouldn't you want to know which options are available to you?

We thought you would say yes, which is why here are various types of financial aid you may tap into:

Sources of Financial Aid for Criminal Justice Students

If you are a student of criminal justice, you may look to the following sources:

·         Federal government

·         State government

·         Campus

·         Private scholarships

·         Private lenders

Federal Government (FAFSA)

To qualify for FAFSA, you will have to meet specific academic requirements. Once you have made certain of those, start filling the FAFSA form online. Each school has its own code, but the deadline is the same for them all, i.e., October 1st. Within 4-6 days, you will have your answer in the form of a federal Student Aid Report (SAR). If you need more information, you may want to stop by the financial aid office at your school.

Federal Government Loans for Students

You may apply for a Perkins, or Direct Unsubsidized, or PLUS Loan. The latter can be for either students or parents of students. The Direct Unsubsidized Loan?offers $20,500 to a student for each academic year.

The Federal Direct PLUS Loans are reserved for graduate and professional degree students. Go to the Financial Aid website to find out more. Certain schools also offer the Perkins Loan, but you will have to confirm if yours is one of them.

Another good option for students who have taken out multiple federal loans is a consolidation loan. As its name suggests, the loan combines the loan payments into one. Consequently, you will have to pay a single – and usually more -- manageable monthly payment. Look for details here.

State Government

The state you study in will have its own financing opportunities, including student loans, grants, and scholarships. You will find a list pertaining to this topic here.


Your college may also offer a Work-Study?opportunity. If they do and you can demonstrate to them a need for funds, you may be able to work your way through college!

Private Scholarships

For each option, we mention the deadline, sponsor contact details, and main stipulations/criteria for eligibility.

ACJS Student Scholarship Awards

These awards end on October 1st and are open to graduate students who will continue their education towards a master's or Ph.D. degree in the field of criminal justice. Go here for the scholarship link.

Brian Terry Foundation Scholarship Program

This program ends rather soon, i.e., on May 31st. Applicants who qualify for this annual scholarship must already be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. Here's the scholarship link.

Dan Sprehe Memorial Scholarship

Ending on September 1st, it only considers candidates enrolled at a four-year Chicagoan college (full-time) for a degree in criminal justice. If you win this award, your ACFE prep courses and the CFE exam fees will be paid. Email to know more.

Lambda Alpha Epsilon Student Scholarships

End on December 31st and are open to both undergraduate and graduate students. You must be studying criminal justice and be an active member of the ACJA/LAE chapter. Learn more about the conditions here.

Master Corporal Ronald G. Williams Jr. Scholarship

May 31st is the deadline for this scholarship for graduating high school seniors. You will get $1,000, so that you may spend it on tuition while pursuing full-time post-secondary education in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, or Pennsylvania. For details, write to:

Master Corporal Ronald G. Williams Jr. Scholarship
P.O. Box 5811
Wilmington, DE 19808

My Alarm Center Student Scholarships

The cutoff date is July 1st for this scholarship through which undergraduates may get up to $1,000, provided they are studying criminal justice. Call (866) 484-4800 to know the details.

Robert "Bobby" Deckard Memorial Scholarship

This award has a varying deadline, so you might want to call (210) 554-2235 and find out more. The scholarship provides $1,000, but only to students of Highlands High School enrolled in the Police Explorers program. You also must have a criminal justice major to qualify.

Private Loans

We'd advise that you use this option only as a last resort and to round out the picture for finances! When a private lender offers a loan, the terms they set depend on the types of students, borrower fees, interest rates, etc. Some lenders will offer low-interest loans that can ultimately cost more due to their exceptionally high fees.

You may look to private banks, such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America for a private loan. There are student loan lenders like Sallie and Nellie Mae, as well.

It may seem to you that the price tag for higher education is unbelievably hefty. But that's only because you are ignoring the knowledge and skills you will acquire when you get your criminal justice degree. Choose the right law school, a feasible financing option, and you are looking at a rewarding career!