It is very important for a student beginning a scholarship search to be aware that free money for college is available in the well known scholarships, as grants, as prizes and as forgivable loans.
Is there are big difference between these awards? Absolutely, and it will really payoff for a student who investigates each type of financial opportunity in their scholarship search.
All students developing a plan for paying their college expenses need to create a comprehensive list of those scholarships they will try to win. This listing should include the full name and mailing list of the agency, any contact names or information, telephone numbers and email addresses and the amount the group will provide to the student’s who win the funds. The student’s records should also accurately track all deadlines or dates that are relevant to each item on their list.
A well done scholarship search will provide a student with dozens of viable sources for college money. After these have been identified the student needs to only follow each program’s requirements.
To understand the types of awards available through a scholarship search it is a good idea to understand how most groups, schools and organizations view them:
• Scholarships are viewed as outright contributions to a student’s educational expenses. A scholarship will never need to be repaid and can be used for tuition or a student’s cost of living. Many scholarships will require a specific GPA (grade point average) or participation in a specific field of study or degree program. A student will usually be obliged to follow up with the organization or group that grants the funds.
• Prizes are cash rewards given for achievement and winners of competitions. These might include national writing competitions, local recognition for excellence in a sport, or may come from a contest such as the scholarship contest sponsored by the famous YouTube web site.
• Forgivable loans are more familiar than most people realize. Many military services provide forgivable loans for education in exchange for a specific period of military service by the student. Many volunteer organizations will also fund a portion of a student’s education and in return receive volunteer service from the student. There are also two fields – teaching and medicine – with great opportunities for loan forgiveness to students who practice or teach in certain areas after graduation.
• Fellowships and Grants are usually items given to graduate students. Fellowships cover the cost of living for a student working on a graduate level of research or work, and may assist with some tuition expenses. Grants traditionally go to graduate projects and cover all expenses that occur from a very specific project or work. They usually will not pay a student’s living expenses and must be documented and handled very methodically and in a highly organized fashion.
There are so many types of financial awards available, and a well thought out scholarship search will turn up some wonderful opportunities.