for Helping Students Find Scholarships and Grants
By Cynthia Mayberry, TG, Manager,
In the coming months, more students will visit the financial aid office
for help with the FAFSA and college loan applications. Although borrowing
money to pay for college is a good option for many, it’s important
to encourage students to research and apply for scholarships and grants
before considering loans.
Scholarships and grants, or gift aid, are the ideal form of financial
aid for students because, unlike loans, they don’t have to be
repaid. Unfortunately, many students don’t bother applying for
gift aid because they believe their grades aren’t good enough.
Remind students there are many unique scholarships offered by a variety
of sources that want to invest in higher education. With so many options,
it’s a mistake for anyone to assume they won’t be eligible
for a scholarship or grant.
Scholarships are not only awarded for merit in academics, athletics,
or a particular field of study. Many are also awarded based on ethnic
background, religious affiliation, and special interests. Students should
research all possible sources of scholarships and grants in their local
community and state, such as schools, colleges, religious, and civic
Below is a rundown of some obvious – and some not so obvious
– sources students can use to find scholarships and grants.
High school counselors and teachers
Students should discuss college majors and career possibilities with
teachers and counselors to get suggestions on the types of scholarships
available for someone with their interests.
High school library, public library, or bookstore
Libraries and local bookstores almost always carry directories and guides
on scholarships. Students should talk to their school librarian for
Many Web sites like Adventures In Education (www.AIE.org),
and the Princeton Review’s Web site (www.princetonreview.com)
provide free scholarship searches.
Colleges and Universities
The college or university a student plans to attend can help with finding
scholarship programs. Students can call the admissions office or financial
aid office and ask for help on finding scholarships. Colleges and universities
are also good places to find out more about scholarships offered by
state and local government agencies.
There may be a scholarship fund or program available to students through
the company where their parents or guardians work.
Churches, synagogues, or other religious organizations
Religious organizations have very long histories of creating programs
to help youth with education. Students should speak with their minister,
rabbi, priest, or other religious leader about available scholarship
Local, state, and national businesses
Many types of businesses contribute in some form or other to scholarship
funds for students—it's part of their responsibility to participate
as positive members of their community.
Branches of the military
All branches of the military have programs to provide scholarships to
students. In most cases, the student will likely have to serve in some
form or capacity to become eligible. Many students who need assistance
to attend college and also want to develop leadership skills and work
experience serve in the military and then go to college on military-funded