Scholarships and grants are free money! Most have criteria that students must meet, whether that criteria is merit-based,need-based, topic-based (i.e. children of veterans, religious affiliation, related to an intended major) or a combination of merit/need/topic. Scholarships may be offered by schools, companies,employers, churches, nonprofits or other organizations.
Scholarships range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars and may be a one-time award or renewable each year a student is in school. In order to apply for scholarships, students may have to show proof of grades, proof of income, write essays, audition,or even attend an interview.
Is it worth it?
As Mr. Walker says, if you have to write an essay to apply for a $500 scholarship and it takes you an hour to write the essay, that's basically earning $500/hour! Free money is almost always worth the effort and remember that multiple scholarships will add up. College is pricey, so every little bit helps.
How to spot a scam
- Bottom line = if you have to pay to get it, it's likely a scam.
- Don't pay for anyone to search for scholarships or grants - you can easily do this for free!
- Don't pay "application fees" to apply for a scholarship.
- Don't give out credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or social security numbers.
- More info about scholarship scams
Where can I search for scholarships?
- NAVIANCE - Scholarship information for PLP students!
- Federal Student Aid - US Department of Education site that gives an overview of scholarships and ways to find them. Also get info on Federal Pell Grants, FSEOG Grants, TEACH grants, and grants for military families. Must complete a FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) in order to apply for federal aid.
- Scholarship Search and Find by Category - Search more than 7,000 scholarships by award type, state of residence, affiliation or keyword. Through CareerOneStop, sponsored by the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Commission.
- CFNC's Scholarship Resources - College Foundation of North Carolina information on state and federal funding for college. Must create a free CFNC account and log in. Scroll down to "statewide" under "Grant and Scholarship Search" to access a list of state-funded aid such as the NC Education Lottery Scholarship, Duke Energy Power Careers Program, NC Community College Grant, SECU Foundation Scholarship and many more! Also scroll down to the "State Education Assistance Authority Student Portal" to apply for state-funded scholarships such as NC National Guard Tuition Grant, FELS, Golden Leaf Scholars, Jagannathan Scholarship, Aubrey Lee Brooks Scholarship.
- CollegeBoard's Scholarship Search - Database of over 2,200 scholarships and financial aid sources, totaling almost $6 billion. Search by personal info, academic info, type of award or affiliation.
- Scholarship Experts - Database of over 2 million scholarships totaling over $14 billion. Must create a free account and log in to search.
- Scholarships.com - Free scholarship search. Must create an account.
- Fastweb.com - Over $3 billion in scholarships. Free search.
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund - Search for scholarships specific to Hispanic/Latino students
- UNCF - Search for scholarships specific to African American students
- www.zinch.com - Scholarship matching, college recruitment, webinars on the college admission process and more!
- weeklyscholarshipalert.com - free service that delivers a link to your inbox each week. Follow the link to receive a manageable 5-10 college scholarship announcements.
- www.scholarshippoints.com - Earn points for completing activities like quizzes, reading blogs, playing games, surfing the web and taking opinion surveys. Each point you earn equals one entry into any of our various scholarship drawings. The more points you earn, the more chances to win! Also hold scholarship contests.
- www.cappex.com - scholarship matching
- College Answer - Searchable scholarship database
- www.free-4u.com - Free national database of college scholarships
- Large NC School Districts' Scholarship Hubs - some scholarships may be specific to county residents or school system students so read the eligibility criteria carefully. But others don't have residency requirements, so go for it!
Cabarrus County Schools
Gaston County Schools
Guilford County Schools
Wake County Schools