scholarship application, pen and coffee mug on desk

How to Find Scholarships and Other Funding for Your Certificate Program

Investing in your education and professional development can be a difficult decision to make, especially when considering the costs associated with earning a certificate or other credential. And although certificate programs typically cost a lot less than degree programs, there are also fewer scholarships available. However, with a bit of research and patience, you will find a number of scholarships and other ways to help you pay for your certificate program at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (CPE). Below are a few resources to help you begin your search.  

Benefits and Scholarships for Veterans and their Families

If you are a veteran, active service member or a qualifying family member, you can use your Veterans' Education Benefits to help pay for your education at CPE. It’s quick and easy! We also have a dedicated VA Education Benefits Coordinator who can provide information and answer questions about using your benefits. Keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) only pays for courses that are part of an approved certificate or study program. View a list of approved CPE certificate programs and learn more about using your benefits.  

Additionally, there is the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Scholarship Program that provides up to $4,000 of tuition assistance to eligible military spouses and can be applied toward any program at CPE that leads to a certificate or professional concentration.   

Members of The Legion Family can apply for the American Legion Auxiliary Non-Traditional Student Scholarship, a $2,000 scholarship awarded annually per Auxiliary geographic division for people pursuing training in a certified, trade, professional or technical program, or a two-year or four-year degree program.  

Scholarships and Job Training Funds Available at CPE

CPE students aren’t typically eligible for student loans or tuition assistance programs, but with the help of our generous supporters, we do offer a variety of CPE scholarships to help working professionals advance their careers.  

The “Build Your Own Career” Scholarship Program funds scholarships for deserving, financially challenged adults to enroll in academic CPE programs.

Several Professional Brewing Scholarships aimed at creating opportunities for a new and diverse generation of brewers are also available. These scholarships are designed to recognize academic and professional excellence and increase diversity and cross-cultural understanding in the brewing industry by providing financial support for deserving students to attend in-person and online Master Brewers Certificate Programs.

Through the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA), you may be eligible for federal, state or local job training funds. Contact your local California Employment Development Department office or America’s Job Center of California to see if you qualify. Many CPE students are able to complete a certificate program with tuition and textbooks paid by a job training fund related to job displacement, unemployment or retraining, such as WIOA and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). Plan ahead as it may take two to three weeks to confirm eligibility for job training funds, and payment or funding must accompany your request to enroll in courses.  

CPE participates in the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. This program allows individuals who have successfully completed their AmeriCorps term of service and enrolled in the National Service Trust, to become eligible to receive the award, which can be used to pay current educational expenses. The award amount varies based on the term of services completed, and under specific conditions, it can be transferred to family members.

CPE also offers needs-based scholarships in partnership with the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA)/Sacramento Works, which provides funding to economically disadvantaged Sacramento residents to gain high-demand jobs skills in Business, Health Sciences, Technology, Sustainability and other fields that support the evolving needs of the region’s employers and provide long-term career pathways. View a list of certificates approved under the SETA agreement. Eligible students can apply for scholarship funds through the network of 14 Sacramento Works Job Centers managed by SETA. Visit for Center locations.  

Private and Professional Development Scholarships

Another option is doing some savvy internet research. There are free scholarship and financial aid search tools available online to help you find the best resources to pay for your certificate program. offers a directory where you can browse scholarships by category. There are many categories to search through including ones based on your interests or personal background, such as age, employer, ethnicity, military affiliation, religion, state of residence and more. You can even create a quick profile to get matched with scholarships you qualify for.  

Scholarships360 is another free tool that allows you to search for scholarships by category or related to your life situation such as online students, part-time students, non-traditional students and adults. The site even offers tips for applying, including how to avoid scholarship scams, scholarship essay writing, how to write a statement of financial need and more.  

Sallie Mae's Scholly recently launched to help students searching for scholarship opportunities by matching them with scholarships based on their interests, background and accomplishments.

Coursera’s Scholarships and Grants page is another great resource for finding different types of scholarships and grants available, such as scholarships for underrepresented communities and links to several scholarship databases, including one for international students.

If you are currently employed, you may also want to talk with your employer about tuition assistance that may be available to you. Some employers will pay for their employees to earn a certificate program. Checking with your supervisor or HR department is a good first step, as is preparing your case for how the certificate program will enable you to better support your organization, ultimately benefiting both you and your employer. For help asking your employer about tuition reimbursement, download this customizable sample letter.  

Keep in mind that creating an account or profile on some of these sites could mean your personal information may be sold or shared. Review each site’s privacy policy for more information.

UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education does not endorse any of the scholarship links on this page. They are provided as a potential resource.

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