As high school seniors finalize college applications, await decisions from dream schools and ponder how they will be able to pay tuition and fees, schools, organizations and corporations are ready to hand out thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships to students who are willing to complete additional applications and essays.
Apps and websites such as Scholly and RaiseMe have students fill out a general application about their high school accomplishments and generate scholarship opportunities based on their input. The general application mainly involves adding information about academics, sports, extracurriculars and after school jobs. Some of these scholarship finding websites ask for a subscription payment to use their resources, but many are free to users.
Apart from these outside sources, schools offer scholarships for students who apply and receive acceptance to the institution. Benedictine University, a private Roman Catholic university in Lisle, offers a Presidential Scholarship to students who have a cumulative high school GPA between 3.6 and 4.0 or an SAT score between 1350-1490+ (ACT 29-33+) for $17,000 per year. Other schools, but not all, both in-state and out-of-state offer scholarships similar to the one offered by Benedictine for more or less money with higher or lower standards to qualify for the scholarship.
College students have three ways to receive money for school: grants, loans, and scholarships. Grants, often given to students based on need, are amounts of money that the student does not have to repay. Loans are given with the expectation of repayment with some amount of interest on top of the original amount. Scholarships, like grants, do not need to be repaid, but are given based on academic and athletic ability. Often with scholarships, the student is expected to maintain a specific GPA for the duration of their attendance to that institution. Failure to do so could result in the institution taking away the scholarship.
44 million borrowers in the US collectively owe $1.5 trillion, roughly $38,000 per person, according to a 2018 Forbes article. With the cost of college growing steadily, many students are looking for other ways of paying for school. Scholarships offer money to students who may not qualify for need based aid and who do not want to be bound to a twenty-or-more year loan. Back in 2008, National Scholarship month was moved from May to November to raise awareness about the opportunities available to students, and, ten years later, the scholarships are just useful and available as before.
Story by Alya Khan