When should I start applying for scholarships?
Apply for scholarships early and often. If you are a high school student, begin researching and applying for scholarships the summer after your junior year. However, some scholarships are open as early as freshman year of high school, so it’s never too early to start looking. Set a goal to apply for a minimum of two scholarships per month. Sometimes, with a lot of hard work, you may be able to pay for your entire schooling with scholarships like a student in Valley City, ND, did. Remember to keep applying when you’re in college as some scholarships are only for second-year students and beyond. You should even re-apply for scholarships you didn’t previously receive because you may receive them the following year!
Does your GPA matter for all scholarships?
Each scholarship has different criteria to determine eligibility. But, if you’re looking for a full-ride scholarship, GPA (grade point average) does matter.
What happens when scholarships exceed tuition expenses?
Tuition is part of the cost of attendance (COA). If scholarships exceed the COA, the student will receive a check from the college.
Do scholarships reduce the amount of financial aid you’re eligible to receive?
This varies by institution. Students must report outside scholarships to the financial aid office, but ultimately, it’s up to each college to decide how they allocate financial aid. Some may reduce need-based aid, but some may reduce loans. Either way, it is a good idea to be in contact with your financial aid office and remember, every dollar earned in scholarships is a dollar not borrowed!
When are most scholarships due?
Most scholarship deadlines are between October and March. Check the deadline on each application to determine when it must be submitted. Applications that are received after the deadline won’t be considered.
How are scholarships awarded?
Most scholarship checks are sent directly to the college/university, and some are sent directly to the student. Check with the organization awarding the scholarship for details. Remember to send a thank-you card to the organization awarding the scholarship!
Will scholarships pay for housing or books?
Typically, yes, housing and books are considered part of the cost of attendance for college. However, check with the organization awarding the scholarship to confirm what it can be used for.
Can scholarships be taxed? Are they income?
Scholarships that are used to pay for tuition and fees are tax-free. If the scholarship is used to pay for room and board, then it is taxable.
Are scholarship recipients determined by financial need?
Every scholarship is different; some are awarded based on financial need while others are not. Either way, don’t let it deter you from applying. Organizations like North Dakota Dollars for Scholars have scholarships specifically for middle-income students.
What’s the difference between a scholarship and a grant?
Most scholarships are merit-based, meaning they are awarded to recipients with specific academic achievements or skills like sports or music. Grants, on the other hand, are mostly need-based.