Scholarships are much like grants in the sense that they do not need to be repaid. They are essentially gifted funds that go to a student that they can then use to further finance their education. They are offered by various sources including employers, individuals, private or nonprofit organizations, religious groups, schools, etc. The majority of scholarships are awarded based on financial need or merit but there are also scholarships out there that are available to individuals of specific groups such as minorities. Since there are literally thousands of different scholarships on the table to choose from, students should conduct extensive research to guarantee that they find the best scholarship(s) suited for their path.

Finding A Scholarship

In this case, you’re going to want to do what you typically do when you need to find information on something. Google it. The internet is teeming with websites dedicated to helping students select the right scholarship. With over 7,500 financial aid award opportunities, the U.S. Department of Labor Scholarship Finder is a powerful tool for students. Another valuable tool at their disposal is the College Scholarships Search, which makes it possible for students to filter by gender, school level, ethnicity, award amount, and state. If you rather browse scholarships based on category such as athletic, minority, state, degree level, etc. you can do that as well.

Types of Scholarships Available

Here are some examples of types of scholarships available:

Military Scholarships

There are multiple scholarships out there for service members, veterans, and their families. Two of the best places students can start researching military family scholarships are the Veterans Service Organization and the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

Academic Scholarships

Academic scholarships are awarded to students who have exceeded their academic capacities. This can also pertain to students who exhibit exceptional athletic or artistic skills as well.

Scholarships For Mothers

Various scholarship providers have an option available that helps fund schooling for mothers. These organizations make it easier to pursue higher education and more valuable career opportunities for mothers looking to better their situation, themselves as well as the lives of their families.

Community Service Scholarships

Students who choose to either participate or volunteer in community service can greatly increase what scholarships are available. There are a lot of schools and organizations that value individuals who dedicate their time to bettering the lives of others and will gladfully award scholarships to these prospective students.

How To Apply

Since there are so many scholarships available, there is no “one size fits all” application process. Each scholarship comes with its own set of requirements. The best way to see if you may qualify for a particular scholarship is to visit the specific scholarship website. As always, students must be aware of scholarship deadlines to make sure their application is submitted correctly and promptly.

Avoid Scams

It’s sad to say this, but with most organizations that deal with finances, you always have to be wary of the scammers. There may be more scholarship scams out there than actual scholarships. I don’t really know the number, but there are enough that you should beware of. One of the last situations anyone wants to find themselves in is being a victim of fraud. There are basic tools available to students to ensure that financial assistance is safe, secure, and legitimate. The U.S. Department of Education provides helpful tips on how to avoid scams during the college application process.

Education Grants

Education grants are mostly issued by the government, private, or nonprofit organizations, and they never have to be repaid. In most cases, grants are awarded based on the individual’s needs in contrast to scholarships and the merit of the student.