Scholarships, similar to grants, do not have to be repaid. They are gifted funds that students can use to finance their education. Scholarships are offered by several different sources including schools, employers, individuals, private or nonprofit organizations, religious groups etc. Many scholarships are awarded based on merit or financial need. There are also scholarships available to individuals of certain groups such as minorities. Because there are thousands of different scholarships offered, students should do thorough research to find the scholarship(s) best suited for their path.
Finding A Scholarship
The internet is filled with websites devoted to helping students find the right scholarship. With more than 7,500 financial aid award opportunities, the U.S. Department of Labor Scholarship Finder is extremely useful to students. Also helpful is College Scholarships Search, which allows students to filter by gender, school level, ethnicity, award amount and state. Or students may browse scholarships based on category (Athletic, Minority, State, Degree Level etc.) to get an idea of what is offered.
Types of Scholarships Available
Below are just a few of the many types of scholarships available to students:
- Awarded to students who have excelled in their academic capacities. This can also mean students with exceptional athletic or artistic skill.
Community Service Scholarships
- Volunteering or participating in community service can help open scholarship opportunities for students. Many schools and organizations value individuals who have dedicated their time to improving the lives of others and will award scholarships to these prospective students.
- There are a number of scholarships available for service members, veterans and their families. Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and Veterans Service Organization are just two of the places students can begin exploring for military family scholarships.
Scholarhsips For Moms
- Many scholarship providers offer school funding for mothers. These organizations help make pursuing a higher education and more valuable career opportunities available to mothers looking to better themselves and the lives of their families.
How To Apply
Due to the large number and variety of scholarships available, there is not one set application process. Each scholarship has its own requirements. The best way to get an idea of who qualifies and how to apply for a scholarship is to visit the specific scholarship website. As always, it is imperative students are aware of scholarship deadlines to ensure their application is submitted in a timely manner.
It is important to note that unfortunately there are many scholarship scams out there that students should be aware of. It can be difficult for one to spot potential fraud and determine if a scholarship offer is a scam. There are basic tools students may use in order to ensure the financial assistance is legitimate. The U.S. Department of Education provides several tips on how to avoid scams throughout the college application process.
Usually issued by the government, private, or nonprofit organizations, grants are a form of financial aid that never have to be repaid. Often times, grants are awarded based on the individual’s needs in contrast to scholarships which are normally awarded based on the individual's merit. Find out how to locate and apply to education grants here.