Where Can I Find Scholarships for College Students?

College scholarships are grants of financial aid that don't have to be paid back. All sorts of colleges and universities, as well as individuals, industries, companies and government groups, fund scholarships. Here's how to find scholarships for college students.

Finding Scholarships for College Students

To find scholarships for college students, start with your high school guidance office. Your guidance counselors may know about local businesses or organizations offering scholarships. Studentaid.ed.gov is a really helpful resource, as it provides external links for different scholarship opportunities. College admissions office staff may also be able to suggest scholarship sources, and their colleagues in the financial aid office could also help you find applications for scholarships.

Important Facts About College Scholarships

Prerequisites Varies depending upon the scholarship; some may require a minimum GPA or SAT score
Application Requirements In addition to the application, some organizations may require an accompanied essay
Award Disbursement Depends upon the organization awarding the scholarship; funds will either be sent directly to the intended school of enrollment or the scholarship winner
Award Renewal Varies, depending on the scholarship; recipients may have to reapply for scholarships, or they may automatically renew by meeting certain academic requirements

Need-Based Scholarships for College Students

Most (but not all) college scholarships look at financial need; however, this doesn't mean the student has to be impoverished. For example, Dartmouth College guarantees to meet 100% of every admitted student's demonstrated financial needs (cost of attendance minus the family's ability to contribute) through a combination of loans and scholarships. If the student's family makes less than $100,000 annually, Dartmouth awards a full tuition scholarship. Many other well-endowed prestigious schools have similar policies. If the student or the parents work for a big company, inquire at work about college scholarships.

Scholarships for College Students Based on Merit

The National Merit scholarships are awarded based on the student's score on the PSAT, which is typically taken in junior year. Many universities have additional merit-based scholarships available to current students. Merit scholarships may be based on the student's academic, artistic or athletic performance. They are often very competitive.

College Scholarships Based on Intended Major

This country desperately needs nurses, teachers, doctors and other professionals, especially to work in poor rural or inner-city areas. The U.S. government awards scholarships or post-graduation loan repayments in exchange for service in these areas. Additionally, the Federal Cyber Service provides scholarship funds to colleges to be awarded to continuing students learning computer and information security. Other fields also have dedicated college scholarships available.

Scholarships for College Students From Their Town, High School, or Local Private Foundation

Families, individuals, and service clubs, such as the Rotary Club Endowed Scholarship Fund, provides scholarships for local college-bound students. The high school guidance office is the best source for information about purely local college scholarships.

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