The Scholarship Madness

The Scholarship Madness

College Scholarships – Sorting it Out

No, it’s not about the brackets. But right now students and families across the country are hearing from colleges and universities only to learn in some cases that additional resources are going to be needed to cover the remaining net tuition costs.

Scholarships are a financial resource critical to assisting students and families meet the cost of attending public, private and community colleges. Scholarships reward students for their talent and treasures, academic and personal performance (athletic, dance, voice, speech and visual design). The vast majority are based on qualifying “Merit” requirements and eligibility, while some also require the demonstration of “financial need” need”.

Scholarship Amounts – What You Need to Know

75% of all scholarship dollars awarded by colleges and universities are provided to prospective and returning students who match eligibility criteria set by the school, donor and other contributors. Scholarships are provided in a wide range of amounts, some one-time only and others are renewal. As part of reviewing one’s request for acceptance, schools will compare a student’s profile to programs available and determine matchs. School utilize these types of scholarships to reward students for their hard work and performance before and during college. Awards are acknowledged by the school through the communication of acceptance and financial aid information.

  • Athletic scholarshipAthletic and Performance Scholarships – students who receive these awards are normally notified in concert to a “signing event” once they accept and commit to the college or university. Specific requirements including NCAA guidelines and regulations must be adhered too.

Many colleges and universities also have separate programs that a student must apply for and meet requirements. These programs maybe offered by specific departments, majors and alumni. As an example, Syracuse University offers accepted students an opportunity to compete for The Maxwell Citizens Scholarship,  Students write and defend a “position” paper in a debate format. Students should dig a little deeper when review a schools website, applying for admissions and/or financial aid. Uncover a program, follow the guidelines and apply.

State Funded Scholarships

In each state there are publicly funded scholarship and grant programs which reward students for their academic accomplishments (GPA, State Testing Programs) and/or demonstrated financial need. Students generally apply through their Guidance Department and when filling the FAFSA.  Example: MassachusettsMaineNew York

Then you have what I refer to as the ”time invested – time rewarded” programs. See there are hundreds of scholarships provided by local, regional and national based foundations, philanthropic donors, civic & community organizations and corporations. But, one has to investigate, investigate to find and apply.

  • Local Programs are generally coordinated through the HS Guidance Department. Students need to obtain the “list” apply when needed or ask their Counselor, Do I qualify? These awards are generally distributed at Baccalaureate and Graduation events.
  • Regional and national programs can be found through digging through the internet using a search engines (ex: FastwebScholarshipsPeterson’s). However, many of these search assistance tool are also data mining, lead generation organizations. Those using these tools should be aware of their rights and how the organization will, if any use the information.

Not to be forgotten, many Employee Assistance Programs offer scholarship programs for the children of employees. The Human Resource Department in most companies is the key contact to question.

As Acceptance Offers and Financial Aid Award Letters arrive for high school seniors and transfer students, many are excited to find a scholarship as part of the communication. But, if a higher than anticipated Net Tuition Cost still remains, students and families should spend sometime focused on another version of March Madness.

One that just might payoff!!