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.