Find and apply as many scholarships as possible, it’s free money for college or career school!
There are thousands of Free Scholarships, offered by schools, employers, individuals, private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups, and professional and social organizations.
Full scholarships (also called full-ride scholarships) are the holy grail of funding opportunities, covering almost everything for the full three or four years of university. Your tuition and living expenses will be covered by the provider, leaving you free to focus on your studies and your social life without worrying about money. Sounds good, right?
Some college scholarships are based on merit. You earn them by meeting or exceeding certain standards set by the fellow. Excellence scholarships can be awarded based on academic achievement or a combination of academics and a particular talent, trait or interest. Other scholarships are based on financial need.
Many scholarships are intended for particular groups of people; for example, there are scholarships for women or graduate students. And some are available because of where you or your parents work, or because you come from a certain background (for example, there are scholarships for military families).
A scholarship could cover the full cost of your tuition fees, or it could be a single scholarship of a few hundred dollars. Either way, it is worth applying as it will help reduce the cost of your education.
How do I find scholarships?
You can learn more about scholarships in a number of ways, including contacting the financial aid office of the school you plan to attend and checking the information in a public library or online. But be careful. Make sure the information about scholarships and offers you receive is legitimate; and remember that you don’t have to pay to find scholarships or other financial aid. Check out our information on how to avoid scams.
Try these sources of free stock market information:
- the financial aid office of a college or career school
- a high school student or a TRIO advisor
- US Department of Labor FREE Scholarship Finder
- federal agencies
- your public subsidy agency
- the reference section of your library
- foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses or civic groups
- organizations (including professional associations) related to your area of interest
- ethnicity-based organizations
- your employer or that of your parents
Know where to look
First of all, where do you actually go to find full scholarships? Your first stop should be the official website of your chosen university, as they can offer their own funding opportunities to students of your location or subject, or possibly list external scholarships to which you could apply.
In addition to your university, you can check out sites like InternationalScholarships.com or FastWeb.com, as well as our own Scholarships for Studying Abroad page, which lists funding opportunities in different study destinations, scholarships focused on particular subjects and scholarships for groups of specific students (eg African students).
When do I apply for scholarships?
It depends on the deadline for each scholarship. Certain times are set a year before college begins, so if you’re in high school now, you should do your research and apply for scholarships during the summer between your junior and senior years. But if you missed this window, don’t give up! Check the scholarship information to see which scholarships you can still apply for.
How do I apply for scholarships?
Each scholarship has its own requirements. The scholarship website should give you an idea of who is eligible for the scholarship and how to apply. Make sure to read the application carefully, fill it out completely and respect the application deadline.
How do I get my scholarship money?
It depends on the scholarship . The money could go directly to your college, where it will be applied to any tuition, fees or other amounts you owe, and then to the remaining funds that will be returned to you. Or it can be sent directly to you by check. The scholarship provider should tell you what to expect when it informs you that you have received the scholarship. If not, be sure to ask.
How does a scholarship affect my other aid?
A scholarship will affect your other student aid as all of your student aid cannot exceed your cost of attending college or career school. So, you will need to inform your school if you have received a scholarship so that the financial aid office can subtract this amount from your tuition fees (and some other assistance, such as loans, that you may have been offered). Then, any remaining amount can be covered by other financial assistance to which you are eligible. Questions? Ask your financial aid office.