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Financial Aid: General Information

Scholarships and Grants

There are billions of dollars available in scholarships! Don't let lack of time or dread of writing an essay keep you from missing out on needed financial aid. A couple of hours of work can pay off in a big way. The more money students can win from scholarships and grants, the less student loan debt the student will have to pay back after graduation.

Scholarships:  A scholarship is generally an amount awarded to a student to enable him or her to attend an educational institution.

  • Scholarships are usually merit-based, which may be based on academic or athletic achievements, talents or interest in a particular career.
  • Scholarships do not have to be paid back.
  • Most have firm application deadlines and specific criteria you must meet.

Grants:  A grant is a sum of money awarded to students by an organization, often from federal or state government or a institute of higher learning.

  • Many grants are need based, which are dependent on you or your family's financial situation.
  • Common federal grants are the Pell and Teach Grants. Those who wish to apply for these grants must do so through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Types of Scholarships Available

  • Need-based scholarships: These scholarships are based on the financial needs of the family. Federal awards and many private scholarships require applicants to fill out the FAFSA form.
  • Merit-based scholarships: These awards are based on academic performance and/or standardized test scores. Often volunteer work, community service or extracurricular activities will be considered.
  • Student-specific scholarships: Applicants must qualify based on gender, race, religion, family or medical history.
  • Career-specific scholarships: Awards are given to students pursuing a career or study in a specific field. Current high-need fields such as manufacturing and nursing often generate career-specific scholarships.
  • Local scholarships: Typically available in every community, as local organizations and clubs often offer scholarships. These tend to be less competitive due to a localized pool of applicants.

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