College scholarships and grants provide a respite to the increasing costs involved in education which is prevalent in the United States of America. There are thousands of students who benefit from numerous such programs which are awarded by state and federal governments, private organizations, clubs, etc. The process of applying for such aids can be very difficult if you are not aware of what are the prerequisites. In the following lines, we shall discuss all about them in detail.
Since grants are aids that need not be repaid and are either merit or need based, these should be the first option which should form a priority. Some of the tips, which can prove to be helpful, are as follows:
College scholarships and grants – Tips on how to apply
- It is a fact that most of the organizations follow the ‘first come, first serve’ philosophy. Since a fixed amount of money is allocated for all such programs, you should apply at the earliest possible date.
- Apply to as many college scholarships and grants as possible. There are a number of types available and hence, this increases the chances of your getting one of them.
- The most vital part that needs to be fulfilled in order to apply for this financial aid is the filing of FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This needs to be annexed with a lot of paperwork, and hence, one has to be ready with all of them.
- One of the major advantages of a grant is that you can study in a university or college which you like. Therefore, make sure you have a list that meets all your requirements and offers courses that you are specifically looking for. Some of these college grants can be higher whilst others offer lower amounts of money as aids. Look for one that offers the best amongst the lot.
- The next step would be to contact these universities or colleges, either personally or through telephones. This will give you a fair idea of what grants are suitable for you and how you can go forward with the same.
- Give out all the information in a truthful manner. However, make sure that all of it is relevant to the application. One should not be creative in filing an application, rather, being precise is what matters the most.
- Your letters of recommendations should be legible. They should be from someone who has been associated with you academically.
Where to find the right information about college scholarships and grants?
The internet is the best place to search for all the information about college scholarships and grants. There are specific sites if you are looking for federal or state grants. These are managed by the governing bodies themselves. In the case of private bodies, look for the contact details, and visit them personally in order to know more. Make sure you check the eligibility criteria before filling the application form. You might be eligible for a merit grant whilst you are looking for need based.
Difference between college scholarships and grants
Scholarships – These are financial aids given out to students which do not have to be repaid. The main characteristics are as follows:
- It is not taxable. However, any balance which remains after the tuition, fees, books, etc. have been paid for is taxable.
- These are mostly merit based, though they may be given out in conjunction with those who need them financially.
- They are usually awarded by colleges and universities where you wish to study.
- In some cases, you will have to do a few hours of community service in exchange of a scholarship.
- Apart from those that are merit or need based, there are other ways of getting such an aid and these include competitions, etc.
Grants – They are the same as scholarships as you will not have to repay them to anyone. They are mostly associated with state and federal governments, private companies, employers, etc. They are mostly given out to undergraduates who wish to study in a college. The Pell Grant is perhaps the most sought after grants in the United States of America. Grants are also awarded to students who want to specialize in a particular field of study. The advantages of grants are as follows:
- There are a number if grants that can be utilized by interested students.
- Students who are awarded grants have a higher chance of getting better job opportunities after finishing college.
- They encourage all those students who are interested but do not have the means to study further.
How to get yourself ready to apply for these aids?
Though there are many students who are eligible for such grants and college scholarships, it is a fact that only a small percentage is successful in getting them. The reason is that they are more ready and prepare well. The following are some important things which need to be considered:
- How many students can get the particular grant or scholarship?
- What can be done to make you a more suitable candidate?
- What will be the career opportunities once the course is successfully completed?
- Which aid is best suited to your economic conditions?
- Are there any competitions which need to be won in order to get the aid?
- Are you looking for a local college or university or someplace which is farther?
There are many other aids which are offered by organizations which include religious, military, unions, clubs, etc. Even these need to be checked so that there are more opportunities available to you.
College scholarships and grants can either be one time or renewable every year. Make sure you know if there is any other paperwork that is required to be submitted before the renewal. Applying for college scholarships is the first step to get the best possible education and you will need to take time and decide on the best option.