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Date: November 9, 2012 - 11:37am
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Can You Get a Scholarship?

Scholarships can be a great way to cover the cost of higher education. As with grants, you don’t have to pay them back. Scholarships equal FREE money to help pay your tuition. Generally, scholarships are awarded to students with special qualifications, such as academic, athletic or artistic talent. Awards are also available for students who are interested in particular fields of study, members of certain groups which are underrepresented, live in certain areas of the country, or can demonstrate financial need. 

Some companies offer scholarships to their employees, or even former employees. Even if you’ve volunteered someplace or have experience in a certain area, it can be an opportunity to receive a scholarship.

So, scholarships are the way to go, but how do you find them? There are a number of places to look. Some are quick, easy and can be found by doing an online search. Others take more time and effort to find. It might take a few phone calls or visiting local businesses in person. If so, you’ll be glad you put in the effort.

Following are a few places online to get you started on your search.

·        www.finaid.org/scholarships - “FinAid was established in the fall of 1994 as a public service. This award-winning site has grown into the most comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools – on or off the web.”

·        www.fastweb.com – “At FastWeb, we have it all. Find your dream school and a way to pay for it.”

·        www.scholarships.com – “Since 1999, we have helped millions of students, parents and counselors search 2.7 million local, state and national college scholarships and grants worth over 19 billion dollars!

North Central has recently added an excellent resource on scholarships in the library.

·        Tanabe, Gen S., and Kelly Y. Tanabe. The ultimate scholarship book 2012: billions of dollars in scholarships, grants and prizes. Belmont, CA: SuperCollege, 2011. Print.

The RAMA Report included this announcement recently – “Graduating? Interested in Loan Forgiveness? GoCorps is an organization that shares the love of Christ overseas using unique opportunities such as business, engineering, compassion, media, sports, teaching, and through universities. You can get up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness! To learn more go to the information meeting November 7th, 4:30-5:30 in the Miller Hall conference room.”  If you missrd the meeting in Miller Hall, check it out online: www.gocorps.org

Tally Hart, senior adviser for economic access at Ohio State University, suggests that students look for scholarships locally. Organizations such as Kiwanis, Rotary and religious organizations often offer scholarships.  http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/06/pf/college_scholarships/index.htm

For example, a medical equipment company in the Twin Cities, gives scholarships every year to local seniors, bound for college, who are going into science or medical degree programs. You may be able to find businesses in your hometown that have similar scholarship programs.

Often local scholarships must be applied for before you graduate from high school, but that isn’t always the case.

Remember to put time and careful attention into the applications. These scholarships are coveted. Companies can only offer so many, so you are competing to receive that scholarship. Answer the questions they are asking. Answer them completely.  Give extra information about yourself. Explain any hardships you’ve experienced and how you overcame. Give information about how you’ve volunteered, showed compassion, helped your parents or a neighbor. Demonstrate your willingness to work. If you have a disability or had to work to buy your own clothes (or other necessary items), that may be fact that sets you above the other applicants.

Accuracy matters!!  Have someone reliable check your application for mistakes in grammar and spelling before you send it in.

As education costs continue to rise, it takes creative thinking as well as action to pay for it. Scholarships may be your answer.