Important Changes to the Scholarship Game
Since this was first written, the colleges, ever hungry for money, have changed the way that the scholarship game works.
Most colleges, and universities, provide a lot of assistance to students directly, in their own scholarships, merit aid, work-study programs, etc.
For years, scholarship money was ACCRETIVE. It filled in what the college didn’t pay out.
Around 2018, Colleges began to change how they look at scholarships. Instead of being accretive, where they added to the student’s ability to pay, now colleges frequently penalize you for having them.
The University of Greed, let’s say, admits you. They give you, after the serious haggling that everyone must do, about $21,000 remaining, that you, and your family, must pay.
You land a huge scholarship, the Kashe Foundation Award, for $20,000. You figure that your bill is going to be $1,000 a year, to go to college.
UG asks about your scholarship money. You have to report it to them.
When they see the $20,000 award, they reduce their academic need-based aid offer to you by $20,000.
So now, you’re back at square one.
Ways to Avoid the Penalty
There are ways to avoid being penalized, and still land good scholarships. Colleges that penalize usually look at academic aid. Look for purposeful scholarships that are specific, and NON-ACADEMIC. Scholarships that cover:
Some foundations, aware of the problem, will dole out money for non-academic purpose, if it helps keep your college, or university’s aid in place, and you need it to make it through without a mountain of student debt.
Scholarships Are An Ongoing Process
From the time that you’re a freshman in high school, to the last day of your doctoral, you can keep writing for scholarships. I liked to do “Scholarship Sundays.” Do your laundry. Write scholarship apps for cash.
When Do I Start?
You can start looking for scholarships in your freshman year of high school. Even ones that are not yet open to you allow you to plan ahead, and figure out what you need to do to get ready for many of them, that have requirements.
Need a lot of community service time, to get a particular scholarship? If you know AHEAD, you can do the work that it takes to qualify, rather than cross it off of your list, as a Junior, or Senior, because you don’t meet the requirements.
Remember to get an email address that you use for this purpose ONLY. Many of these websites, or the companies offering scholarships, will spam you to death.
A joint email account for scholarships allows parents and students, working together, to access the email address without any privacy intrusions as well. Everyone can spend a little time researching and writing. A family effort, to comb the system for opportunities, usually produces more possibilities.
Still, especially with the advent of WiFi in college laundry facilities, when it’s laundry-time, not study time, should be set aside for writing for money. The goal is to retire student loans to zero each year, much faster, or to avoid having to have them in the first place.
Where to Look
Here are some resources:
- Scholarships.com – Best advertiser on the web. Largely a hustle to get your email.
- MyScholly.com (App based) – Excellent app for your phone. Worth the small fee.
- iReviews – Produces a Top 10. Has some excellent info on the scholarship process.
- BigFuture (College Board)
- Student Scholarship Search
- Remind – If your high school uses Remind, it usually posts scholarship opportunities on Remind.
- The Financial Aid page of each college often has additional resources
- High SchoolGuidance – Your guidance office often recommends students for scholarships from local organizations. Be one of them.
- College Departments – Some post additional grant or scholarship opportunities on their web pages or in their offices.
- Organizations affiliated with the college where you attend/will be attending. Once admitted, there are lots of opportunities for additional scholarships. Look at:
- Alumni Associations
- Student Unions
- Student Organizations
The process is YEAR-ROUND. Look to see when scholarship deadlines occur. Missed one? Mark it on your calendar for next year!