Search for Relevant Scholarships
Many students want to attend one of the best colleges, but their parents have been unable to save enough money to ensure they can attend the college of their choice. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible dream to attend the college of your dreams. It does take more effort to find scholarships that can make up any shortfall in funds for school but it’s worth it in the end.
The first and best place to begin on your list of places to look is at your chosen college. If you have already been accepted at a school and do not have adequate funds for tuition, books, and living expenses, then it’s time to meet with the financial aid officer at the college. Often, colleges can help students with funds that fill the gaps left by other types of aid.Read More
Another important place to look for scholarship and grant money is with your state government. This is especially true if you are entering the freshman year of your bachelor's program. For example, the state of California offers a program called Cal Grant. These scholarships are for undergraduate students, those in vocational programs, and students pursuing a teaching credential. New York offers free tuition at their two- and four-year colleges for residents of the state whose families earn less than $125,000 per year. Some states, including Oregon, Arkansas, Indiana, and Minnesota offer free tuition for residents at their two-year community colleges.
Thus, the best advice is to begin with your state and your school first as you search for scholarship money. If you are looking for either student loans or scholarships, you will also need to fill out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) because it contains metrics that allow school financial aid officers to determine how much you and your family can afford and how much additional aid may be available to help you with your college degree program.
Scholarships Can Help Reduce the Cost of Your College Education
California Middle Class Scholarship
Amount: Varies by Need
Deadline: March 2
This grant is provided by the California Student Aid Commission for undergraduates and students who are pursuing a teaching credential who intend upon attending a University of California or California State University campus. It is awarded to students whose families make less than $171,000 a year. Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress and can receive the grant for up to four years.
Burger King Scholars
Amount: $1,000 to $50,000
Deadline: December 15
This scholarship is for graduating seniors who have a 2.5 or greater GPA that are U.S. or Canadian residents. The applicant must work on average 15 hours per week and also do community service work. The scholarship funds can be used at an accredited two- or four-year college or at a vocational school. It is not required that the applicant be a Burger King employee.
Carson Scholarship Fund
Deadline: January 9
The students who are awarded Carson Scholarships maintain a 3.75 GPA or greater and engage in community service. They are nominated for the scholarship by their school, and each school may only nominate one student per year. Nominees can be as young as in the 4th grade but must be committed to attending a college or university upon graduation from high school. Students who are awarded a scholarship are invited to compete for a scholarship in subsequent years, as long as they maintain their community service and GPA requirements. The goal of the program is to groom young leaders.
Amount: Full Tuition, Room & Board, and Fees
The Coolidge Scholarship is in memory of former president Calvin Coolidge. Students must apply in their junior year of high school. Students chosen are humble leaders that demonstrate academic excellence and are interested in public policy. This scholarship is unique in that it is a full scholarship for tuition, fees, books, and living expenses for a full four years of college. The application process includes submission of an essay, high school transcripts, a resume, and two letters of recommendation.
Dell Scholars Program
Deadline: December 1
This scholarship is bestowed upon students who have demonstrated financial need, have overcome challenges and hardships, and are highly motivated with strong goals for their future. Scholarship recipients must be attending a college readiness program. They must have a minimum GPA of 2.4.
Amount: $2,500 (Winner); $500 (2nd & 3rd Place)
Deadline: December 15
This scholarship is for any student aged 13 or older that is currently attending post-secondary education. The application process involves writing an essay from 800 to 2000 words that provides creative and realistic solutions to solving the housing crisis in the U.S. Each year, the exact topic of the essay changes.
G.E./Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program
Amount: $10,000 (Can be renewed up to $40,000)
Deadline: January 4 (OR when the foundation has received 25,000 applications)
Every year, the Ronald Reagan Foundation and General Electric team up to award 18 scholarships of $10,000 each to students who demonstrate financial need, leadership, integrity, and a drive to succeed. The applicants need to have a 3.0 or greater GPA and can renew their scholarship over a six-year period four times.
Horatio Alger Association Scholarships
Amount: Up to $25,000
Deadline: October 25
The Horatio Alger Society is one of the country's largest providers of scholarships that are need-based. Students who are awarded these scholarships have demonstrated leadership and academic excellence and have financial need. Their preference is that families who apply for these scholarships make less than $55,000 per year. Applicants must be involved in community and extra-curricular activities.
Other Sources of Scholarship Information
Discover Bank has an impressive list of general scholarships with handy drop-down access to look at some of the particulars.
Fastweb.com is another web site that contains information about scholarships, but it also has information on internships, part time jobs, and student loans. Like Scholarship.com, they provide tailored information based upon your individual metrics.
Don't rule out looking at your parent's employers for sources of scholarships.
Also, consider any trade organization in your proposed career path. Such organizations are also likely sources of scholarship money and information on degree-specific scholarships. There are several ways for you to pay for college, scholarships and grants are solutions that you typically will not have to pay back. With student loans, private loans or federal loans, you will need to typically pay these back over time.