Items you will need

  • Official high school and/or college transcripts, or GED

  • Previous year’s tax return

  • Parents’ previous year's tax return

  • Social security number

  • Driver’s license

  • Current bank and investment statements

  • Current mortgage information

Law enforcement academy tuition generally costs between $3,000 and $4,000. While financing that tuition can be a daunting prospect for interested applicants, ability to pay for a law enforcement academy stay need not short-circuit a would-be applicant’s career path. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

Most police academies are run by junior colleges. Candidates can apply for assistance directly through the school's financial aid office.

Complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is also used to match applicants with aid from other sources. This can be done online.

Apply for other federal and state grants, such as a Pell Grant or a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Some educational grants are offered through the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) under the auspices of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). States also administer grants for minority groups, low-income students and students pursuing a high-need field of study.

Apply for scholarships. The U.S. Department of Education offers several; the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation provides financial support to college junior-level students committed to public service work.

Check out other financial aid, like the G.I. Bill. This assistance is available for veterans, servicemen or servicewomen, reservists and spouses or dependents of a service-connected disabled or deceased veteran.

Apply for loans as a last resort. Many different types of loans are available, such as Federal Perkins loans, Federal Stafford loans, William D. Ford Federal Direct loans, Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), consolidation loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFELSM).

Tip

  • Some law enforcement departments pay all or part of a recruit's tuition, as well as salary and benefits during academy training completion.

    Complete and submit a FAFSA regardless of eligibility for federal student aid. Financial aid may be available from other sources.

    The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is available to encourage people to enter and continue to work in public service jobs. Under this program, borrowers may qualify for loan forgiveness of the remaining balance due on eligible federal student loans after having made 120 payments on those loans.

Tip

  • Complete all applications for the FAFSA, grants and scholarships on time to ensure eligibility.

    Conviction of a drug-related felony deems a candidate ineligible for both a federal grant and law enforcement work.

    For non-U.S. citizens, an Alien Registration or Permanent Resident Card is required when filling out a FAFSA. However, only U.S. citizens are legally allowed to become law enforcement officers in the United States.