Scholarships are a form of financial aid awarded to students to pay for education. Unlike loans, scholarships do not have to be paid back. Scholarships are usually awarded based on academic merit or other achievement or financial need. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when applying for scholarships.
• First, make sure you have a current Free Application for Federal Student Aid on file with your school’s Financial Aid office. Students aged 24 and younger will need their parents’ income tax return information to complete the application.
Applications can be completed online. Most scholarships require students to have a FAFSA on file whether or not the student is eligible for grants and/or loans. Some scholarships are specifically need-based. A current FAFSA helps determine a student’s financial need.
• Every school has a specific time period to apply for scholarships. Make sure you pay attention to application deadlines and know when the scholarships are available. For example, scholarships applied for during the spring semester will be applied to student accounts the following Fall and Spring semesters.
• Check the scholarship criteria of the scholarships you apply for. Make sure you meet the GPA requirement, credit hour requirement, program of study
If you do not meet/maintain the criteria, your scholarship offer may be rescinded.
• Most schools have some type of requirement, for example, writing a thank you letter to the donor, for students to accept the scholarship and the funds be applied to the student’s account.
Make sure you pay attention to deadlines for submitting required information. Not following through on required actions may cause your scholarship offer to be rescinded.
• Unless noted otherwise, most scholarship funds are applied directly to the student’s account and most scholarships are divided equally between Fall and Spring semesters.
• If a scholarship application requires any type of essay response, make sure you pay attention to the details. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar are important.
Be sure to give a complete response to each question. Scholarship applications are usually reviewed numerous times by different reviewers.
Your responses to essay questions are the chance for you to shine and make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicants.
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