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Friday, June 14, 2013

Private Scholarships: How and Where to Search

Private Scholarships: How and Where to Search!
First, check with your college(s) to see how they treat scholarships.  Per the Federal rules, outside scholarships are treated as resources and are added to your EFC, lowering the financial aid offered.  In some cases, it may lower the loans the school included in your award in order to cover a gap between federal aid, state aid, institutional aid, your contribution and the total cost of attendance (COA).  In other cases, they will lower their institutional scholarships and grants, which is certainly not helpful to you (and makes the effort to procure private scholarship dollars unproductive).
Second, the student should interview the family and relatives about where they are from, all the family names (maiden names), interesting characteristics – redheads and lefties noted! - and organizations they have or were ever involved with.  Armed with that list of information, it’s time to start the search.
Before you start, be prepared to be methodical, and to create notes and files by month.  Some scholarships can be applied for annually throughout college while others only apply to freshman year or senior year, etc.  Some will apply for certain majors but not others so take note, if the covered major is an interest and you are not firmly decided upon your course of studies.  Remember NEVER PAY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS!  Those are SCAMS.
Lastly, keep in mind that the best scholarships come directly from your college or university.  Search by university, college, department, and major.  Search by club and organization.  Search for corporate and alumni sponsored scholarships.  Fully 18% of all financial aid monies are institutional scholarships.  Private scholarships are only 1.5% of all financial aid.  Now that you are ready, here are a few places to search:
Student Scholarships: