Less Financial Aid Is Not Necessarily A Bad Thing
It’s up to your school to decide whether to cut back your financial aid package by reducing the amount of federal loans or grants that you receive. If your college doesn’t state its award displacement policy on its website or how it treats private scholarships, contact the school’s financial aid office.
The best-case scenario is for the school to use the scholarship money to replace loans, since that means you’ll ultimately have to borrow less money for school. If your financial aid office decides instead to reduce your grant award, the amount you need to borrow won’t be affected.
Can You Negotiate A Scholarship
It can never hurt to try negotiating for your scholarship amount from your school. The worst they can say is no, but negotiating may allow you to maximize your scholarship funds. Don’t be afraid to contact your financial aid office about increasing the amount of scholarship money. However, to be able to negotiate you’ll need to be prepared.
Understand what the purpose of the scholarship award is and how it can benefit you. Maybe it’s to encourage you to start your college career in a specific program or college major. Be timely about when you begin negotiations contact the right people once you’ve received your financial aid offers but before the deadline for tuition deposit and financial aid package disbursement. Also, be aware of the details of your scholarship. Many students can miss the fine print when accepting financial aid packages.
Once you’re prepared, start by telling your story of why you need to increase your scholarship amount and why you deserve it. Maybe you need more scholarship money to pay for room and board. Or, maybe you or a parent lost a job, changing your financial situation. Several scholarships that are need-based aid will need documentation of demonstrated financial need.
It is best to not approach it as a negotiation from the beginning approach this exchange by asking about how you can receive more financial assistance to match your financial need. Keep your scholarship request within a reasonable amount considering your expenses.
How Can You Spend Scholarship Money
Typically, scholarship money is eligible to spend on any college expense. Though books are obviously included, other expenses like dorms, apartments, food and meal plans are also appropriate ways to allocate scholarship money. These are some ways you can use your scholarship money:
Textbooks: For almost any major or degree program, you need textbooks. Going to your college bookstore can be a simple way to use the scholarship money for buying books.
Housing: Some programs may require that you live in a dorm during your first year. Regardless of if you live on campus or in an apartment, you can use your scholarship money to pay for your housing.
Groceries: If you live in an apartment you can use scholarship money to help buy groceries. Otherwise, you can also use the money to pay for university-sponsored meal plans.
Computers: As technology becomes more prevalent, having a personal computer can be convenient or necessary for your major. Your scholarship money can help pay for the technology you use for your coursework.
Equipment: All other school-related materials can be purchased using scholarships. For example, an art student may need to buy canvases and paint, or a music student may need a new instrument or supplies.
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How Likely Is A Full Scholarship
While the news is full of student-athletes and child prodigies heading off to college without having to ante up a penny, the reality is that this is extremely rare.
College is expensive, and unless you are in the very top percentage of the most sought-after applicants, full scholarships are unicorns. Even if you excel in athletics and have a grade point average of 4.0, you still need a nice mix of community service, extracurricular activities, and a great story to tell to make yourself stand out against the hundreds of likely candidates youre competing against.
But that shouldnt discourage you from applying for multiple scholarships in hopes to be awarded additional money for college. Even just a few hundred dollars here and there can be helpful to students who are in need of more financial aid.
Are Scholarships Counted As Income
Since scholarship money won through Bold.org is sent directly to the college you are attending, scholarships awarded through Bold.org are not considered taxable income. If you are a high school student, your earnings will be held in an account for you until you go to college.
However, if you win a scholarship from another source and you receive an amount that’s greater than your total educational costs, the money may be taxed. Scholarships also become taxable if you receive the money directly and apply it to costs other than tuition, books, course fees, and education expenses.
There are always new scholarships being added to Bold.org. Create your profile now and get notified of any new scholarships that are the best fit for you.
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Example Essay Prompt Question #1
Is it fair that professional athletes earn millions of dollars?
Typical boring answer: No way! We should be paying that money to teachers and firefighters. Athletes are just playing a game.
Whats wrong with this answer? You could find this opinion in the Letters to the Editor section of any newspaper. It doesnt matter if the answer is right it plays everything safe and is BORING.
Better answer: Salaries arent decided by fairness. Theyre decided by supply and demand. LeBron James is a millionaire because millions of fans pay to see him perform. Besides, if the athletes werent getting the money, the owners would. Those are the only two options.
How You Can Spend Scholarship Money
The time you get the scholarship fund is contingent on the very scholarship you secured. At times you receive the fund in one lump prior to the commencement of school. In other instances, the fund is disbursed in instalments. And at times, a scholarship money may be distributed midway through a semester.
You can spend scholarship checks made in your name on almost anything, yet it would be sensible of you to consider this as an asset and not a license to squander on concert tickets, make-up or video games. The fund is meant to cover school costs. This could be tuition, and it could as well be housing, books, foodyou need to be hale and healthy to studyor required resources such as a computer or software.
Certainly, the way you get your scholarship fund may have a bearing on your alternatives for utilising it. Whereas funds from most huge scholarships get sent to your institution directly, certain scholarship funds may be awarded straight to you. Ive mentioned that your institution may also refund you for scholarship funds not used. If you obtain scholarship money directly, ensure to obey all rules regarding the way you are ableand not ableto use that fund. If you are not sure how to spend the money, you can consult your financial assistance office for direction on the way to use the scholarship fund and what costs can be provided for by scholarship funds. Here are some examples:
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Approach Scholarships Like A Job Not The Lottery
Many students approach their scholarship searches like they would the lottery. They fill out a random application here and there and hope that they hit the jackpot.
This is not the mentality you should have. Instead, you should approach your scholarship search like a part-time job, perhaps even dedicating 10-15 hours a week to the task.
With scholarships, its all about the law of large numbers.
Understanding the law of large numbers helps salespeople push through all the nos, knowing that eventually the law of averages will kick in and theyre going to get ayes.
With scholarships, if you only got 1 out of every 20 applications accepted, would you be disappointed. Well, from a sales perspective, thats actually an awesome percentage .
Lets say it took you 15 hours to fill out all 20 applications, and the 1 yes ended up landing you a $2,250 scholarship. Thats $150 an hour. Most high schoolers would take that job any day of the week!
Or consider Sarah Allevato, who was highlighted in a story on Fastweb. She applied and was rejected on seventy-two scholarships. But on the seventy-third application to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, she won $40,000 per year for the remainder of her undergraduate years, and $75,000 for graduate school!
So, even if Sarah only had 2 years left of undergrad school, plus, lets just say, 2 years of grad school thats $230,000!
There are very few jobs to be had in the world where one sale could land you that kind of a return!
How To Start A Memorial Scholarship Fund
Starting a memorial scholarship fund is very similar to starting any kind of scholarship. Youll need to figure out how to fund and manage the award and what you want the winning criteria to be. If you plan to accept donations to fund the scholarship, figure out if you want to set up the fund at a nonprofit or at your bank. Dont forget to discuss potential tax issues with a financial advisor or attorney.
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Strive To Be Unique On Scholarship Essays
In his scholarship guide , Remit Sethi explains a simple, but incredibly effective way to stand out from the crowd on scholarship essays:
Think about what everybody else is going to say, and then say something different.
Let me give you an example. If you visit Fastweb, they will give you a list of the most commonly used scholarship essay questions. Here is an example of one under the Current Events and Social Issues section. What do you see as the greatest threat to the environment today?
Now when you see a question like this, you can easily imagine how nearly every Joe Shmoe is going to answer this question. Theyre going to talk about global warming or population growth and the food shortage that we will soon be facing. Or perhaps they will talk about pollution.
The point is, just about EVERYBODY is going to be talking about the same 3 or 4 things.
Can You Turn Scholarships Into Cash
Unfortunately, turning scholarship money into cash is not allowed. Despite being considered free money, scholarship funds are financial aid awarded for an intended purpose. That specific purpose is to pay educational expenses like college tuition, student fees, and other college costs.
Many of the private scholarships found on Bold.org are funded by individual donors and scholarship providers. A scholarship award from Bold.org is paid directly to the college the recipient is enrolled in to ensure the financial aid package is being used appropriately. Therefore, students actually have no access to the funds outside of college and can only use the money for qualified educational costs.
The scholarship rules put in place by the scholarship providers, especially for smaller scholarships, prevent recipients from turning scholarships into cash for personal use.
There are some cases where you can receive a portion of the funds for yourself. If your scholarship award exceeds your tuition and expenses for the year, the extra money may be refunded to you for you to use as you please.
However, this refund is still under the jurisdiction of the scholarship committee so they may opt to give the excess funds to another recipient. Additionally, if you receive a scholarship refund, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to pay taxes on it since it can be considered income.
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What Kinds Of Scholarships Are Available
It can be easy to think there are no college scholarships available for you if youre not an athlete, a genius, or a child prodigy.
Thats just not true.
There are thousands of untapped scholarships adding up to billions of dollars that go unclaimed every year. The money is out there. You just have to know where to look. The next section will begin to open your eyes to the scholarships that might be available to you.
How To Find College Scholarships
Here are four ways to find scholarship opportunities:
- Look at your hobbies in a new way.You may not think of your hobbies and interests as a way to help pay for school, but you should. There are college scholarships out there for everyone: crafters, gamers, vegans, green thumbs, Trekkiesyou name it. Scholarships arent just for straight-A students or all-star athletes.
- Register for Scholarship Search.Our free Scholarship Search tool gives you access to 6 million scholarships worth up to $30 billion. It helps you find and apply for scholarships that match your skills, activities, and interests. You can even set up customized alerts to notify you when a new scholarship that matches your profile becomes available.
- Meet with your school counselor and others.Discuss your plan to pay for college with your school counselor and ask about scholarship opportunities that might be right for you. Also, keep your eyes and ears open in your community. You might hear of college scholarship opportunities through your church, your job, or your parents jobs.
- Apply for scholarships for minority students.If youre a minority student, there are available that can help you pay for school.
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So Where Do You Find Unclaimed Scholarships
One good place to look for scholarships is on the Financial Aid Finder Scholarship Announcement Blog. Every Friday, the site lists several scholarship opportunities with upcoming deadlines. Nearly all of the scholarships are nationwide opportunities, so you should be eligible for many, if not most, of them.
You can also try conducting a simple Google search. Just plug in the word scholarship, together with some of the qualities you think you might be able to get funding for, such as academic achievement, leadership experience, ethnic background or athletic ability. Or you could try a search for scholarships designated for your particular university, major or hometown.
Another efficient way to search for scholarships is via a free scholarship search engine. A word to the wise about scholarship searchers: Beware of any website charging a fee for their services its more than likely a scam. Instead, stick to the reputable sites that have been around for years, all of which offer free access to tens of thousands of scholarships.
Also beware of scholarship services offering insider access to the millions of dollars in unclaimed scholarships for a fee of course.
While it is true that some scholarship opportunities go unallocated every year, far more common are the scholarships that have thousands of applicants for just one shot at $1,000.
Where does the myth of unclaimed scholarships come from?
Decide How Much Money You Want To Spend
The first step to starting a scholarship is to figure out how much money you want to contribute. You should also decide whether you want to accept donations from others instead of funding the entire award yourself. Keep in mind that if you choose to establish a nonprofit or a private foundation on your own to host the scholarship that youll end up spending more money than just the amount you give to the recipient of the award.
Some potential costs include paying an attorney or tax expert, setting up a website to accept applications, and spending money on advertising fees. If you dont plan on going through each of the applications yourself, you may also need to hire an assistant or two to help with the selection process.
You can reduce some of these extra expenditures by going through a scholarship management service. Many of these services will take care of the tax paperwork, advertise the award, accept applications, and make the first cut to find the best candidates. The fees for these scholarship management services vary.
While youll probably spend less with a scholarship management service than on your own, you can also find some free scholarship platforms. Organizations like Bold.org provide free management services, so all of your money goes to the scholarship recipient.
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Irs Guidelines For Starting A Scholarship Fund
When youre setting up a scholarship fund, its essential to understand the relevant tax regulations. By following specific rules, you can ensure that the money you contribute to the fund is tax-deductible. If you want to accept tax-free donations from other people for your award, you need to make sure your fund follows the proper steps to be defined as a charitable organization.
Some Scholarships Funds Are Sent Directly To Students
Most students and parents assume scholarship awards are sent directly to the college or university that will be attended. While some scholarships do work that way , a significant portion actually sends the money directly to the student who won.
For some students, this can feel a bit intimidating, especially if this is the most money that has entered a bank account with their name on it. But it isnât something to stress about. Instead, just send a check to the school for the tuition, and everything will be set.
But, why would a scholarship choose to send the money to the student in the first place? Because it provides the winner some flexibility. And that flexibility applies directly to our next point.
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What Gpa Gets You A Scholarship
If you are asked to supply your transcript or your grade point average with your application, the organization awarding the scholarship will most likely take it into account as they consider candidates, particularly if you’re applying for a scholarship focused on academic performance.
Even if you’re not pursuing a merit-based scholarship, your GPA could indicate your academic drive and motivation, Camire said. A higher GPA can be important to scholarship organizations they want to ensure they financially support someone determined to succeed in college.
Not all scholarship applications will ask for your GPA, though, or weigh it as much as other aspects of your application. ” is just one component to think about, in addition to the many others,” Camire said.