The Hunt for Money for College
Grants and scholarships are the holy grail for college students!
$239 billion of student grant aid, from all sources, was given out by the federal and state governments, universities, and private or nonprofit entities in 2016.
Let's explore ways to find grants and scholarships for college!
1) Universities that meet 100% of financial need.
Your EFC (Estimated Financial Need) is established by completing the FAFSA. Financial need is the amount remaining when a student's EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) is subtracted from the total cost of attending that university. Here is an example for a family whose EFC is $22,000.
Cost of university: $54,693
Financial need $34,693
Universities that meet 100% of financial need will provide each student accepted to their university a way to meet their need with grants, scholarships and work study, and eventually loans. In the above case, these universities would provide $34,693 to the student in grants and scholarships, and some loans.
2) Merit scholarships: at many universities, students will be automatically considered for merit scholarship when they apply. The priority deadlines for these scholarships are usually early, around November 1.
Some universities, like Florida International University, require students to apply early and be accepted prior to their November 1 priority deadline for scholarships.
For prestigious merit scholarships, the student must be nominated by their high school. An example is Boston University's Thomas M. Menino Scholarship.
Merit scholarships can be some of the most important scholarships a student can receive. Research the universities you are applying to and determine if you will be automatically considered when you apply, if you must apply separately, or be nominated - and keep track of the deadlines.
3) Local scholarships. The guidance director or college advisor at every high school knows of scholarships reserved uniquely for students in that city, county, and state. Those scholarships have the least competition and should definitely be on your list.
4) Naviance. High schools that have purchased Naviance often list all of the scholarships available on the site. It is definitely the case for Broward County high schools. Students must simply sift through the scholarship list and choose those for which they meet the criteria and have interest.
5) Company scholarships for employees children. Companies sometimes offers college scholarship opportunities to the children of their employees. Again, fewer applicants increase your chance of receiving the scholarship!! Absolutely apply!
6) Scholarships in the student's major: Numerous scholarships exist for every major, from education to engineering. These two examples are for the latter: The General Google Scholarship and Society of Women Engineers Scholarships. You can Google a student's major to find scholarships or look them up on the scholarship websites.
7) Scholarship Websites. These provide endless scholarship opportunities.
8) Your university. Once you committed to a university, speak with their financial aid office and career services department to know of other scholarships you can apply for.
Continue to ask your university about and apply for scholarships throughout your 4 years.
Never pay to to have access to or apply to a scholarship.
Make sure any organization that asks for personal and financial information is well-known and reputable before providing it. Some local scholarships (Rotary, for example) may request income tax statements.
Ask for 2-3 letters of recommendation. That way, you will have letters ready for any scholarship deadline that is approaching.
Submit the Perfect Application:
Make sure that your scholarship application stands out. Simple things like naming files with your first/last name, submitting stapled, organized paper, neat applications on quality paper (for those that are mailed) with your first name, last name and the name of the scholarship on every page, will help. Make sure essays are well-written, do not exceed the word count and answer the prompt. And, of course, turn everything in a few days ahead of time to avoid last minute site glitches. Your scholarship applications need to be perfect in order for you to win the scholarship. A half-heartened attempt is usually not worth your time.
Know that scholarship deadlines are year round, so start searching for your scholarship opportunities NOW!! Make a spreadsheet with the name, contact information, criteria necessary, essay prompt, documents to be submitted and deadlines. And apply, apply, apply!!!
Want help choosing the best scholarships to apply and their corresponding essays? Contact us today!