Learn Why Scholarships Are Only a Piece of The Educational Puzzle
The college application process is stressful– submitting all the necessary personal information and writing essays isn’t a cake walk. But finding the funds to pay for school is a larger, more intimidating battle in itself. The internet, overflowing with advice from parents and schools, is littered with scholarship myths like “scholarships will pay for all your tuition” or “saving for college makes you less eligible for scholarships.” That’s why we’re breaking down the advantages and disadvantages of scholarships and why, when paying for school, they should only be a piece of your educational puzzle.
The Good: There’s Money in Scholarships– And a Lot of it
Private sources award around $7.4 billion in scholarship money each year– that’s extra money not awarded through the U.S. government or from your school. The amazing thing is that this money is entirely up for grabs if you apply. Additionally, the requirements for these scholarships range from general academic merit to specifics like interests, major or even height. That means there’s a scholarship for pretty much everyone.
The Bad: They Could Impact Your Financial Aid
If you’re someone who is already eligible or applying for aid from the government or school, this is important to note: extra cash can be deducted from your aid. Many schools have a maximum dollar limit for private scholarships before they start taking away from your financial aid awards. If this is the case, the impact of scholarship on a student’s aid may not be worth it– especially if you break even in the end.
The Ugly: The Odds Aren’t in Your Favor
Many students see lists of top-tier scholarships from brands like Coca-Cola and assume there will be at least one that they’ll be able to nab. This is another widely held scholarship myth.
Although private scholarships are aplenty, students applying for them are aplenty too. A quick search online garners thousands of results for nationwide scholarships, but the competition is high– particularly for the top-dollar gifts. Applying for these scholarships is time consuming, often for very little or no reward.
So What’s a Struggling Student to do?
When it comes to paying for school, it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket. Relying solely on private scholarships is pretty risky business, but don’t let the disadvantages of scholarships get you down. If you need an extra cash boost, most schools also have lists of local, less competitive, scholarships- which can be easy enough to secure when you make the effort to apply.
But before that, figure out which schools are most likely to give you the money you need and be sure to apply for financial aid through school and the government. Then, when that’s done, filling in the gaps with scholarship money is your safest bet.
Still looking for scholarships to boost your aid?
Central Florida Foundation administers college scholarships for many types of students. Browse our scholarship applications, take the eligibility quiz, apply online and give your aid account the bump it needs.