Where to look for scholarships
Finding scholarships may seem like a mystery to a prospective college student, but it’s really not that difficult. While it is true that there are some that are not easily found or have strict criteria, there are just as many that are readily available and have generic qualifications. You can do a quick search on the Internet to find sources, or you can check with your financial aid office or high school guidance office for a list of scholarship sources. You should beware that there are people who will prey on your desire to find free money to help pay for your education expenses: many websites may offer students lists of available scholarships for a fee, but since all of this information can be found in one form or another for free, there’s no need to pay for this service.
Alternative scholarship options
Little-known scholarships may be available in your community to help you defray the overall cost of your college education. Some of these sources may not offer large dollar amounts, but when it comes to paying for today’s large tuition bills, every little bit will help. When looking at alternative scholarship opportunities, check into civic organizations in your community. Community groups such as Rotary and Kiwanis often have a scholarship component of their program to support the education of local students. In some cases, you may also be able to find financial support through an employer. Some employers will offer scholarships to children of employees. Other sources of scholarships can include private corporations, foundations and non-profit organizations.
Fellowships for graduate students
Graduate students have a unique way to earn funds for their education through fellowships. Many fellowship opportunities are very competitive and highly prized by recipients. The money graduate students receive does not have to be repaid to the sponsor, and may be used to cover the tuition and fees for the student as well as provide a monthly stipend. In many cases, a graduate student does not have to be employed while holding a fellowship to ensure that they are successful in their graduate studies.
Tuition waivers for school employees
At some colleges and universities, employees and their dependents may be able to pay for education expenses with a tuition waiver. This may be all or part of the costs associated with the education allowing for the completion of an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree. This can add up to thousands of dollars in savings each year for the employee and is similar to a scholarship, since the money does not need to be repaid. While some may think that working in higher education won’t pay as well as the corporate world, the perks may just make up the difference.
The value of a scholarship
When considering options for scholarships, don’t be too picky. There are a number of low dollar-value scholarships that students often ignore. Some students feel that it is not worth the effort to apply for a scholarship that is worth just a few hundred dollars. However, if you really need the money, you shouldn’t snub these opportunities. Free money is free money. For example, if you receive 10 $500 scholarships, that’s $5,000 less that you’ll have to repay later. One thing you do want to consider is the amount of time and effort it will take to apply for each scholarship. If you are already busy with school work, activities, a part-time job and your applications, be sure to manage your time appropriately!
Tips: searching for scholarships
It’s easy and free to search for scholarships online. A few good places to start are:
- www.10kscholarship.com – A free resource for scholarship information that also offers a $10,000 scholarship of its own!
- www.scholarships.com – A comprehensive database of scholarships and college details.
- www.studentaid.ed.gov – The federal government’s financial aid information site. Use the following address to go directly to the Scholarship section:
There are many other scholarship search engines on the Internet, and it may be worth your time to compare results from several of them. But watch out for sites that want you to pay for this service-the same listings are available free, and you can search them yourself.