Perhaps the most common thing college students say about paying for college is that they wished they had applied for more scholarships and grants. Both provide ways to get free money to help you pay for your education – money that, unlike student loans, you don’t have to pay back.Typically, grants are given based on need and scholarships are awarded based on merit, although there are some exceptions.
Although most of the money that students get for their education comes from the schools that accept them, the US government, or their state government, here are some good sources to look into for scholarships and grants:
Your high school counselor – Often local community organizations, including your high school, will have scholarships to award to deserving high school students. Your best sources to learn about them are your high school counselors and also students who have recently graduated.
The colleges and universities where you’ve been accepted – You’ll usually find out about the scholarships you’re being offered in your acceptance package. Keep track of how much each school wants to give you and how much impact it has on your total costs. Sometimes a college with a higher price at first may cost less after scholarships than one with a lower original cost.Local organizations – Often local community organizations, including your high school, will have scholarships to award to deserving high school students. Your best sources to learn about them are your high school counselors and students who graduated before you. Local government representatives – Look up and contact the office of your state senator, congressperson, assembly person or other local politicians and ask what scholarships or grants may be available. Non-profit entities – Go to Guidestar.org and search for scholarships given by non-profit organizations in your area. Libraries – Librarians know how to find just about anything. Get creative and ask your local librarian how to find potential grants or scholarships. Scholarship websites – There are websites that can help you find scholarships, but be warned: only use them if they are free! Don’t get caught in any scam where you’re asked to pay to find a scholarship. And always remember to read the privacy policies to be sure you know how your information will be used.
Here are some legitimate sites that are free to use: