Avoiding student loan debt has become increasingly difficult with the skyrocketing cost of higher education. Competition for admittance and daily life has made time exceedingly difficult to dedicate towards scholarships. Applying for scholarships to avoid debt is a fantastic trade off for some of your time. You will not only be gaining money for college but avoiding debt, interest and the impact of debt on your future decisions. Here are 10 scholarships resources to get you started.
Local College Scholarship Resources
1. Elks, Kiwanis, Rotary Clubs: These clubs often have scholarships available to the family of members or civically engaged individuals.
2. Your Job or Volunteer Host Organization: If you are working, check with your supervisor or HR representative to see if the company offers any scholarship opportunities. If you work at a small business, it never hurts to ask what your employer may be able to do for you. Ask the organization you volunteer with if there are any opportunities as well.
3. High School & Guidance Counselor: Often times your high school guidance counselor will have excellent resources for finding scholarships. They can hopefully work with you one-on-one to find fitting opportunities. Your high school or school district may also have scholarships opportunities based on athletic or academic achievement.
Scholarship Resources in College
4. Merit-Based: There are merit-based scholarships are earned by meeting or exceeding certain standards by the scholarship-giver. It could be based on academic achievement or a special talent or interest. So study hard!
5. FAFSA: Some scholarships are based on financial need. After you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), make sure to fill out the College Scholarship Service Profile. It allows you to apply for nonfederal financial aid from almost 400 college and scholarship programs. For information and questions about FAFSA or the College Scholarship Service profile, visit ACCC’s Financial Aid 101 center.
6. Department or College: As you move through your years of study, departmental scholarships may become available. These are not often advertised widely. Be sure to ask early on what scholarships are available and when you can start applying for them. If there is a special need or study opportunity you need funding for, talk with a professor to see if your college has any money available to sponsor it.
Online Resources for Scholarships
7. Fastweb.com: Create a profile and get all sorts of insight into scholarships and even careers available to you. There is also information about internships and colleges.
8. Social Media: Social media can be a great tool for discovering scholarships. Follow your preferred university, business or organizations related to your academic interests or major corporations that may post information on scholarship opportunities. Searching Pinterest for boards is another way to track them down. Try out ACCC’s Student Loans & Scholarships board to get started.
9. Scholarships.com: This site is similar to Fastweb.com. Be sure to get notifications and follow their blog to stay tuned into all the latest.
10. Studentaid.ed.gov: The U.S. Department of Education operates this site which features a ton of information including a helpful FAQ section. Learn the basics of scholarships, where to apply and other resources involving the Federal government.
Scholarship homework can be tedious but it will help you for years to come. Don’t get comfortable after securing some scholarship money as you enter college; keep looking for more ways to save, and stay out of debt.