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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Know more about- college scholarships, grants, fellowships, loans and financial

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Different financial aids for college education

This is my new article on scholarships. In the last article we saw how to get Free College Scholarship? The potential of winning a free college scholarship should be attainable for anyone who has the motivation to attend college, but needs financial aid.

Read this blog to know more about different money getting stream for college education.

What is a scholarship?


Scholarships are funds used to pay for higher education that do not have to be repaid to the provider. Scholarships may be awarded based on any number of criteria including academics, achievements, hobbies, and talents, affiliations with various groups or career aspirations. They are available from federal and state governments, large corporations, local businesses, professional organizations, universities and individuals and each has its own requirements applicants must adhere to to be eligible for the award. Our scholarship search can match you with the scholarships for which you best qualify and have the best chance of winning.

How is a scholarship different from a grant?


Though the terms "scholarship" and "grant" are often used interchangeably, there are a few difference between them. They are both free money in that you never have to repay but in the majority of cases, scholarships are awarded to students who are planning to attend or are already enrolled in some form of postsecondary education. Awardees are often required to maintain specific grade point averages, participate in certain activities or take a certain amount of credits per semester to remain eligible for the scholarships they earned initially; failure to adhere to these guidelines could result in suspension or cancellation of the funding. Grant recipients, however, do not necessarily have to be attending or planning on attending college: They often need the funds to finance research projects (recipients are expected to create proposals and update the donors regularly to maintain funding) or, if they are entrepreneurs or victims of natural disasters, require capital to help start or rebuild their lives.

How is a scholarship different from a fellowship?


Like scholarships, fellowships are considered gift aid and do not have to be repaid but they are typically only available for graduate students to help support their educations. Some fellowships include tuition waivers or payments to universities in lieu of tuition but most include a stipend to cover reasonable living expenses.

How do scholarships differ from loans?


The main difference between scholarships and loans is that while scholarships do not require repayment, loans do...with interest. Loans are awarded federally (Stafford, Perkins and PLUS) as well as privately (through banks and other lenders like Sallie Mae) and can be either subsidized (no payments must be made while in school) or unsubsidized (payments must be made while in school).

Will winning a scholarship impact my financial aid package?


It may. The government takes student awards into consideration when offering aid. However, students should not be deterred by this. The effects are not likely to be great. Many schools use student money to offset loan eligibility, not grant awards. Students who receive little aid can benefit greatly from scholarships. Contrary to beliefs of certain celebrities, more money equals fewer problems.

If I’m not eligible for financial aid, can I still receive a scholarship?


Yes, there are plenty of scholarships that aren’t based on financial need. Play to your strengths: If you have a high GPA, apply for academic scholarships, if you’re a great writer, apply for essay and poetry scholarships, if you’re creative, apply for art and design scholarships...the list goes on and on. You could have your entire tuition covered by scholarships if you do your due diligence, which means you’ll graduate with zero student loan debt.

 

Why should I apply for scholarships?


The real question here is why shouldn’t you apply for scholarships? A scholarship is free money for college, money you don’t have to worry about paying back so you can spend more time on your classes. You’re being awarded money for college for something you’re already good at – whether it’s your grades, athleticism, creative ability or tech savvy – so why not take advantage of it? So many students don’t want to apply for scholarships because they don’t think they stand a chance of winning but in reality, applying for scholarships that match your specific criteria (like the ones our scholarship search will match you with) increases the odds of receiving a scholarship award exponentially. Scholarships can paired with all kinds of financial aid to cover the cost of books, supplies, room and board, even entire tuitions but you will never know if that’s possible unless you apply.


College Scholarships, Tracy, CA

What are the odds of winning a scholarship?


It depends on the scholarship you’re applying for. National scholarships will obviously have larger applicant pools than state- or major-specific scholarships but they are all judged on specific sets of requirements. If you follow the criteria, you will have a better chance of winning than someone who doesn’t; the same goes for students who observe deadlines versus students who submit their applications late. You won’t win a scholarship because of who you know; you’ll earn it based on how well you follow directions and the caliber of your responses.

Can I win multiple scholarships?


Yes, but typically not from the same scholarship provider during the same award year. If you’re applying to more than one scholarship, though, be sure to keep your applications and their unique requirements organized: Sending the wrong materials to the wrong scholarship committee can guarantee you won’t be receiving those funds for college.

Am I still eligible for scholarships if I am not a full-time student?


This varies from scholarship to scholarship. Some awards require students to be in school full-time, others are valid for students attending part-time and others are offered specifically to individuals who aren’t currently enrolled but plan to return to school in some capacity during the next semester.

 

Can I win scholarships if I attend an online school?


This depends on the school and scholarship provider. A great place to start your search is Scholarships.com, where our scholarship search presents awards meeting your exact criteria, or contact your school directly and inquire about scholarship opportunities available only to students (this smaller applicant pool will increase your odds of receiving the award).

 

Where can I find scholarships?


You’ve already found your way to Scholarships.com, where you can fill out a profile and have access to the 2.7 million scholarship awards in our database, so that’s a great start! For additional awards, speak to your guidance counselor, financial aid officer, volunteer coordinator, coach, employer or parents’ employers. Scholarships are distributed by large corporations like Google and local businesses alike – the latter of which you may have a better chance of winning since the recipient will be drawn from a smaller applicant pool.

I’m not a strong writer. Will I have to write an essay for every scholarship I’m applying to?


While the majority of scholarship application processes entail some kind of essay to assess applicants’ writing skills, not all providers require one. Keep in mind that scholarships that do not require essays can be more competitive or have additional guidelines to ensure the right students apply. If you’re having difficulty finding an essay-free scholarship, peruse our "Scholarships by Type" section for easy scholarships or increasingly popular video scholarships, where applicants produce short multimedia pieces instead of writing traditional essays.

Who should I ask to write me a letter of recommendation to accompany my scholarship application and when should I ask them?


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Teachers, coaches, employers or volunteer supervisors are all excellent choices to pen recommendation letters because they can detail your strengths and achievements in ways that appeal to scholarship committees. Do not ask parents, relatives or friends close to your own age because even though they may know you better personally, these references will carry less weight than a professional source. As for when you should request their assistance, do so well before the application deadline. Chances are your letter isn’t the only one they’ll be writing so asking in a timely manner is not only appreciated but will likely yield a more thoughtful finished product.

When should I start applying for scholarships?


The sooner the better, of course! Eligibility requirements vary between awards – you must be a high school senior, you must be a college sophomore majoring in computer science, you must be under the age of 30, etc. – but one thing is for sure: You won’t receive a scholarship if you miss the deadline. Make sure your application packet is complete at least two weeks before the deadline; this way, if it gets lost in the mail or the website crashes, you will have enough time to resubmit your materials.

My schedule is packed. Can my parents apply for scholarships for me?


Your parents can certainly help you throughout the process but since you are the one the scholarship will be awarded to, you must be the one to fill out the application, write the essay, complete necessary supplements and sign the appropriate forms. Your parents can assist you in securing your transcripts and even stamping your envelope but if it’s determined that they did the bulk of the work for you, you will be ineligible to receive the award.

I have a question about the application process/award/requirements. Is it ok to contact the scholarship provider directly?


This should be detailed in the scholarship’s rules, regulations and guidelines. The scholarship provider may have the answer to your question but if they have a strict "no call" or "no e-mail" policy, don’t call or e-mail. Instead, speak to your guidance counselor or financial aid officer; they’ve probably encountered the same questions in past years and will be able to give you an answer...or point you in the right direction toward one.

 

Will I have to pay an application fee?


Scholarships.com does not list any scholarships that require any sort of application fee but there are some scholarships out there that might. It’s ultimately your decision whether or not you want to apply for a scholarship that charges you to do but use your best judgment: If the scholarship is for $500 and you must pay a $100 fee to submit your application, is the now-$400 award (which you aren’t even guaranteed to win) worth it to you?

 

How do I know if I’ve won a scholarship?


Someone from the scholarship committee should contact you directly via phone, e-mail or snail mail by a specific date so it’s essential to make yourself available as that time draws closer. The funds will then be sent to you or the school you will be attending during the next semester. If someone from a third-party organization claims they need personal information (Social Security number, bank account numbers, etc.) to complete the award process, it could be a scam; get as much information about the solicitor as possible without divulging your details and contact the scholarship provider directly to determine your next step.

 

Will I have to reapply for this award each year I’m in school, like the FAFSA?


Scholarships usually come in three varieties: one-time, renewable and renewable with stipulations. One-time awards are granted – you guessed it – only once while renewable scholarships are granted each year. Some are dispensed automatically each year after the initial award but most renewable awards call for the recipient to reapply or provide transcripts and progress reports to ensure they are still meeting the guidelines set by the scholarship committee. If you were awarded for your stellar grades or athletic achievement, a low GPA or nonparticipation on a university team could call for your award to be discontinued so check with your scholarship provider to determine what kind of award yours is and what you need to do to keep the funding coming.

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