Scholarships both big and small can be extremely helpful in making a college education more accessible. According to a 2019 report entitled “How America Pays for College”, more than 8 in 10 families relied on scholarships and grants to help cover their higher education costs. Note that unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not need to be paid back.
For students seeking financial assistance in covering their tuition costs, there are a lot of options to choose from. Scholarships can be awarded directly through a college or an independent source and they vary in size, criteria, application process, and deadline. One thing that all legitimate scholarships have in common though is that they never have application fees. Unfortunately, scams do exist, so be careful about applying only to legitimate opportunities that do not require you to pay to apply.
It is also important to apply early and often. I highly recommend that students research the opportunities that they are eligible for and begin applying as early as possible, particularly during their junior and senior years. Since every scholarship you apply to increases your chances of winning one, I also suggest that students make it a goal to apply to a certain number of scholarships each month. Of course, be sure to prioritize the ones with earlier deadlines.
These websites are a helpful resource for exploring scholarship options that you may be eligible for:
- Going Merry: https://www.goingmerry.com/
- College Board: https://opportunity.collegeboard.org/
- Fastweb: https://www.fastweb.com/
- Scholarships America: https://scholarshipamerica.org/
- Scholarships.com: https://www.scholarships.com/
- Scholar Snapp: https://www.scholarsnapp.org/
- Unigo: https://www.unigo.com/
- Edvisors: https://www.edvisors.com/
- College Green Light: https://www.collegegreenlight.com/
- Cappex: https://www.cappex.com/
- Career One Stop: https://www.careeronestop.org/Toolkit/Training/find-scholarships.aspx
If scholarships are an important part of your financial plan, I encourage you to give yourself the best chance of receiving one by doing your homework and taking the time to apply to as many as possible. Good luck!