What Is A Scholarship?

When Should I Start Applying For Scholarships?

The process of applying for scholarships can be complicated, but they are a convenient way to pay for your college education. How is the funding distributed, and what can you buy with it? What about external awards? This guide is for you if, like many other students, you have questions about What is a scholarship?

Below, we answer big questions ranging from “what is a scholarship?” and “where can I get scholarships?” to more nuanced questions like do I have to pay back scholarships?

What is a Scholarship: When Should I Start Applying For Scholarships?

Scholarships are financial aid awards designed to help students pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree. Sometimes a scholarship is a one-time check. Other school scholarships are renewable and provide money for students each semester or school year.

These financial awards differ from student loans in that they don’t have to be repaid. So, to answer a question we often hear, if you get a scholarship, you do not have to pay it back.

Students might receive the money directly as a check in their name. In other cases, the money is given to the student’s school. When that happens, the student would then pay the school for the difference in any money owed for tuition, fees, room, and board. If the scholarships and other forms of financial aid are enough to cover the direct college costs, the excess money is refunded to the student.

Where Do Scholarships Come From?

Scholarships come from a variety of different sources, including clubs, organizations, charities, foundations, businesses, colleges and universities, the government, and individuals. Colleges and universities offer financial assistance in the form of merit aid as well, so don’t forget to contact the schools you are considering to see if you qualify for any merit aid.

What Are the Main Sources of Scholarships and Grants?

There are four major types of free money available to college applicants. We will list and discuss them below with the percentage of total grants and/or scholarships that comes from each source:

  • Federal grants: 47%
  • State grants and scholarships: 8%
  • Scholarships and grants from schools: 35%
  • Private scholarships: 10%

Different Types of Scholarship Offers

There are both merit-based options and scholarships awarded based on financial need. It is important to research the various options and criteria. If you meet or exceed particular standards that are stated by the scholarship-giver, you may be a recipient. Academic achievement and merit-based scholarships may be given on a combination of a certain interest, trait, or academic achievement.

Lots of scholarships are given to specific groups of people. For example, there are scholarships for military families or graduate student scholarships. Others are for people of a specific background or where your parents or you are employed. The possibilities and different criteria are endless.

The amount awarded by scholarship is equally as far-ranging. Some scholarships award a few hundred dollars, while others may cover the full cost of tuition. There may be one-time awards given or full rides for your entire academic career. It is best to apply for as many different ones as you can.

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