While college scholarships have been around for a long time, over the years the types of scholarships and the amount provided has changed dramatically. Today, the opportunity for scholarships is vast and money is much freer so if you have your heart set on earning a college education but need financial aid, we strongly recommend you learn about possibilities that come from different scholarships.
Unlike grants from the Federal government, you can go to college using multiple scholarships. In other words, you could qualify for several different types of scholarships that together would pay for the majority, if not all of your tuition, books, lab time, room, board, and various other living expenses. The key is to understand the different categories in which college scholarships are found, giving you the chance to research specific options. The following are the most common classifications but keep in mind that many others exist.
Need Based Scholarships
Scholarships in this category are based on financial need. If you were going to college as an independent student, then you would need to show the need for financial aid but if attending college as a dependent student your family would need to offer proof of income versus debt. For this, you would need to complete an FAFSA application but only if the scholarship was associated with the Federal government. With the information provided, a formula used would determine whether you qualify for a need-based scholarship and if so, how much.
Merit Based Scholarships
Another common category for college scholarships is based on achievement. Now, most people connect this type of scholarship with academic or athletic performance but in truth, merit based scholarships are also provided for achievement in community service, extracurricular activities, abilities, and artistic arenas. For this reason, if you excel in one of these areas it would be worthwhile to look into merit-based scholarships. In this case, money is provided through private organizations or from the college or university where you plan to attend.
Career Specific Scholarships
With these college scholarships, money comes from the college or university where you want to go but it would be for studies toward a specific career. As an example, if you were interested in becoming a nurse, school teacher, police officer, and so on, the scholarship would apply for coursework needed to earn the respective degree. One important note specific to college scholarships such as this is that because there is currently such a huge demand for nurses of all levels, full scholarships are relatively easy to secure.
Student Specific Scholarships
One of the other primary categories for college scholarships is this, which means that qualification depends on specifics such as medical history, race, family, religion, gender, and so on. Although many groups of people fall into this category, the biggest amount of financial aid goes to minorities. However, numerous opportunities exist, making this an excellent consideration.
With so many possibilities associated with scholarships, as well as Federal grants, there is no reason you cannot pursue your dream of earning a college education. If you need help, professionals in the financial aid at the college or university where you plan to go should be able to answer all your questions and provide appropriate guidance
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