February 20, 2012 1 Comment
Grants and scholarships are closely related; sometimes their names are used interchangeably. Therefore, some facts about the grants will show up in this Basics segment as well. This can get confusing, but the bottom line is, they are both used to help pay for college, and that’s all that matters in the end.
Why go for them? Like grants, you do not repay scholarships.
What are they? Scholarships are free money awarded to a student, often coming from donations, not necessarily the government.
How do you qualify? Scholarships are often based on merit – academic achievement, sports, or some other talent. Others are based on minority or marital status, or intended field of study. But there are others that are only based on financial need.
How do you apply? Generally, filling out the FAFSA is still a good idea. Since scholarships can come from so many sources, you will need to do a little digging. Look into any group, club, or association you are connected with in any way. Churches, youth programs, your parents’ companies, may all have scholarship opportunities.
For scholarships your college offers, start with the financial aid office, your academic department, admissions office (of you are a new student), and specific programs at school if they apply to you, like athletics department, Honors, etc.
Other sources, like Scholarships.com, give instructions on who to contact and what is required, i.e. essays to write, application details, and eligibility.