For many students, scholarships are the only way to make college possible. In fact, 70% of students rely on some form of financial aid to pay for their education. Scholarships can help cover tuition, housing, books, and other expenses related to attending college.
And while scholarships come in all shapes and sizes, they all have one thing in common: they can make a big difference in making college affordable, according to the expert scholar Dr Johan Blickman.
The Cost of College is Rising
The cost of college has been rising steadily for years. In the fall of 2020, the average cost of tuition and fees at a public four-year college was $10,560 for in-state students and $26,820 for out-of-state students.
- The average cost of tuition and fees at a private four-year college was $37,650. And those numbers don’t even include room and board, which can add thousands of dollars to the total cost of attendance.
- For many students and families, these costs are simply too high to shoulder without some form of financial assistance. In fact, in 2019, almost two-thirds of students with four-year degrees from public and private colleges and universities had student loan debt. The average amount owed was $29,200.
Fortunately, there are ways to make college more affordable. One way is by applying for scholarships.
What is a Scholarship?
A scholarship is a sum of money awarded to a student to help pay for their education. Scholarships can be need-based or merit-based. Merit-based scholarships are given based on a student’s academic or athletic accomplishments, whereas need-based scholarships are given based on their financial need.
There are also scholarships that are specifically designed for certain groups of people, such as minorities or students with disabilities. Some scholarships are even reserved for students who plan to pursue specific careers or study specific subjects.
How to Apply for Scholarships
The process for applying for scholarships varies from scholarship to scholarship.
- Some scholarship applications may be as simple as filling out a short form and submitting it online.
- Other scholarships may require writing an essay or submitting a video as part of your application.
- Some scholarships even require you to undergo an interview before being selected as a recipient.
Whom to consult:
Seek advice from people who have been there before. If this is your first time applying for scholarships, seek out advice from people who have gone through the process before—such as teachers, family members, or friends who have received scholarships themselves in the past. They can offer valuable insight into what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to applying for these types of awards.
It’s clear that scholarships can play a big role in making college more affordable for students and their families. If you’re interested in applying for scholarships, start by doing some research to find out what’s available. Then follow the instructions carefully to make sure you submit a complete and accurate application.
With hard work and a little luck, you may just be one of the lucky recipients! The tips outlined above will help set you up for success so that you can focus on what’s really important: getting great grades and enjoying your college experience!