Scholarships provide an opportunity for many aspirational people to earn an education and begin a career. Without the financial assistance provided by a scholarship, many prospective students may have trouble paying for a college degree or beginning training for a trade or industry they desire.
There are multiple paths a student can take to pay for college or the job training they need – jobs, loans, financial aid, grants and scholarships. Scholarships are money that you do not need to repay, and you can combine multiple scholarship awards with financial aid to cover the cost of your college or trade program.
Learn more about scholarships:
What is a scholarship?
A scholarship is a form of financial aid that a student receives based on specific criteria. Scholarships are considered “gift aid” and students are not responsible for paying back this money.
Who can apply for scholarships?
Any student can apply for a scholarship! Each scholarship will list eligibility criteria. Students that meet this criteria should apply.
When can a student start applying for scholarships?
A student can start applying for scholarships as early as middle school. As a student progresses through school, more and more scholarships will become available to them.
What type of scholarships are available?
Institutional: Colleges and universities have their own scholarship pools for students to apply to. These scholarships may be something your student is considered for based on their application for admission to the institution, or something they have to apply for separately. Each school does things their own way.
External: These scholarships are awarded to students by donors and organizations outside of the schools for which they are applying. Students have to do research to find these scholarships and see if they meet the eligibility criteria.
How does a student apply for a scholarship?
Each scholarship application will look different. Sometimes it is as easy as submitting a picture, sometimes it is as involved as completing an application with essays or letters of recommendation.
It is up to the donor of the scholarship to determine the scholarship eligibility criteria as well as the application requirements. Students are responsible for making sure they submit all required documents and meet the deadlines.
My student doesn’t have good grades or test scores. Will they even qualify for a scholarship?
Not all scholarships are merit based. Need-based scholarships provide funds based on students' level of financial need. By using different scholarship search engines – which your Academic Career Advisor can assist with – students can find a variety of scholarships. They may find scholarships for how tall a student is, for being left handed – the possibilities are endless, students just need to find the money and apply for it.
Keep in mind:
- Your student should never pay for a scholarship application – they should always be free!
- Your student should never provide their Social Security number for a scholarship!