In the world of education scholarships there are basically three distinct areas that determine what financial aid, if any, you will qualify for. The first two you will have very little control over and the third you control completely.
Let us start with a look at the first and easiest education scholarships to access. This would be the financial need category. There is very little you can do about this—either your parents make too much money to qualify or they don’t, in which case you will probably get some money from the government.
To figure out where you stand financially in the eyes of the federal government you will need to fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This will determine if you are eligible for any education scholarships through the federal government. Many states will comply with these federal standards as well so you could know where you stand with both entities when you get your FAFSA results.
The FAFSA will tell you what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is and how much you will receive in education scholarships. If your household income is less than $41,000 you will, at the very least, qualify for a Pell Grant worth up to $5,800. It is important that you fill out this paperwork early and with complete accuracy to ensure you receive any educational scholarships you may qualify for.
The second area to look at for common education scholarships is your minority status. Again, there is very little you can do about this—you are either a racial minority or woman or you are not.
The good news if you are part of a group that is given minority status is that there are plenty of educational opportunities for you to take advantage of. For women, who now make up fifty eight percent of undergraduates, there are many education scholarships that have been created with you in mind.
This may be a big part of the reason why women are now graduating more often, getting better grades, and generally out pacing most men on college campuses. Men still get higher SAT scores, but they do worse than women in college and one of the biggest reasons is that even upper middle class white women enjoy the financial bounty of your tax dollars.
For African-Americans and Hispanics there are a wide array of education scholarships. There are many sources to tap into here but, with space limitations, we will only mention two of the best. The United Negro College Fund has been helping African-Americans fund their higher education for over sixty years while the Hispanic Scholarship Fund has been doing a bang up job since 1976.
Last but not least are the education scholarships based on merit. These are for those who receive excellent grades, have high test scores and may have to meet other standards as well. There are many education scholarships all over the county for these types of students, with the National Merit Scholarship worth $2,500 being among the most well-known and prestigious.
College sports essay contest. $1,000 scholarship awarded each year.
The Rhodes Scholarship is considered among the most prestigious of all scholarships. It was the first large-scale international scholarship.
How about making all scholarships strictly based on academic performance, which would lower costs and make education more accessible to everyone?