When searching for scholarships, many times you must have a declared major to qualify. For example, the TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who plan to teach elementary or secondary schools. This particular scholarship, like many scholarships, is specifically for low-income students. Scholarships for low-income students and minorities are especially easy to find.
But what if you fall into that dreaded category of too rich for grants but too poor to pay for college? Don’t worry. There are hundreds of scholarships available based on more than financial need, such as academics, sports, the arts, etc.
Another way to pay for college is to promise to work for Uncle Sam for an amount of time, in exchange for full tuition. Federal Cyber Service (Scholarship for Service) awards from the National Science Foundation will fund two years of undergraduate or graduate education in exchange for two years of federal service after graduation. That’s not a bad deal. Not only are you getting two years paid for, but almost guaranteed a job when you do graduate.
In fact, the federal government alone offers many such scholarships and tuition-paying programs for those students who qualify and are willing to work for the government in various agencies upon graduation.
Finding the right scholarship does require a bit of research and time. Many parents and students who don’t have the time to weed through the hundreds of scholarships available can also get that information through qualified college planners. All the information you need is probably available online, but it can sometimes be difficult to find what you are looking for.
Parents and students need to be realistic about obtaining scholarships. Competition is fierce, so you must resign yourself to not receive every scholarship you apply for. Few students get a free ride to college. In fact, even if your child is a star athlete, he or she is highly unlikely to get a full scholarship. Sixty percent of all student athletes don’t get a dime of sport-related scholarship money.
Many scholarships are for those students who need financial help completing school and are specifically targeted to those who have completed at least one year of college. If you didn’t receive scholarship money as a freshman, there are plenty of opportunities for upper class men.
Don’t forget small, local scholarships, either. That $500 from the rotary club can help pay for book and the $1,000 from the local chamber of commerce can help pay for room and board. Those small amounts can add up to big money.