College Scholarships and Grants

Grants and scholarships are a preferred method of financing your education because they typically do not have to be repaid (although some may require a service commitment after you graduate in exchange for helping to finance your education). Grants are almost always awarded on the basis of financial need. Scholarships, on the other hand, can be awarded based on need, academic merit, academic concentration, interests, or a host of other criteria.

There are a variety of available federal, state, college-based, association, institutional and private grants and scholarships. High school guidance departments and college financial aid offices are often a great resource for locating grants and scholarships, and can frequently assist you with the application processes. There are also numerous web-based search engines that you can review. In addition, you may want to check with your employer (and those of your parents), local businesses and civic groups, as they frequently offer scholarships for which you may be eligible.

Based on your FAFSA results, your school financial aid office may automatically consider you for certain state- or school-based grants and scholarships when assembling your financial aid package. In other cases, you may need to fill out additional forms and/or submit applications and other materials (such as transcripts, essays, portfolios, etc.) to a grant or scholarship administrator in order to be considered.

Finally, it’s good to keep in mind that while there are numerous grants and scholarships available, competition is often fierce and there is no guarantee that you’ll be awarded if you apply. However, because any grants or scholarships that you might receive generally will not have to be repaid, you may find that the time and effort spent in applying are worthwhile.