Scholarships are funds that are given as assistance for a student that are often in recognition of some outstanding merit. They do not need to be paid back. They are a type of grant that is specifically for education expenses. Most commonly people receive scholarships for outstanding scholastic performance, student achievements, and athletic talent. Some scholarships are awarded based on financial need as well. Additionally, there are scholarships available that are based on certain personal demographic characteristics such as race/ethnicity and place of origin. There are even some scholarships that are awarded competitively and take open submissions such as an essay-writing contest or an art contest.
Scholarships are meant to cover all or part of a student’s tuition and associated expenses. They are awarded for different lengths of time based on the type of scholarship. Some may be for one semester or one school year, and others sometimes cover the entire four years of secondary education. Depending on the scholarship that is awarded to the student, the funds can go directly to the student or to the financial institution to cover all or part of the balance that is due for the student’s expenses.
There are also several different ways that scholarships cover expenses. A full-ride scholarship is meant to cover the student’s tuition as well as any associated expenses. A partial scholarship covers a portion of the tuition and expenses. Then, there are scholarships that only cover tuition. Lastly, there are scholarships that are meant just to cover the living expenses of room and board associated with living on campus or in the surrounding area.
One of the nice things about scholarships, in addition to the fact that they don’t require you to pay them back, is that you can receive multiple scholarships at one time. There is no limit to the amount of scholarship money that one student can receive. The average scholarship amount is between seven and ten thousand dollars, which can significantly help to offset student expenses instead of incurring more debt.
The financial services office at your school is a great place to start if you are looking to explore scholarship opportunities. However, there are many scholarship opportunities that can be found online as well. There are even specific websites that are dedicated to providing the most current scholarship opportunities and connecting students to opportunities that are targeted specifically for their needs.
Scholarships can come from a variety of different places. The most common sources of scholarships though are the federal and local government. Nearly half of the scholarships awarded come from the federal government. The second largest source of scholarships at nearly thirty percent is other state and local government entities. Other sources include private companies, foundations, and other entities.
One important thing to be aware of is that often times scholarships need to be applied for well in advance of when you actually need them. Some scholarships require up to a full year in advance of your actual start date for college for your submission to be granted funding in time for school.