How Do Scholarships Work? A Scholarship FAQ

You might hear a lot about scholarships, but have you ever wanted more information? If you are just getting started in your scholarship search, scholarships are like that distant cousin you always hear about, but never met.

Those scholarships you hear so much about are a gift aid used as financial assistance towards education. As you can see by the title, we will list the top information in FAQ format to get you acquainted with scholarships.

Here is our scholarship FAQ for how scholarships work:

What are scholarships?

Scholarships are a form of gift aid. This is the most preferred aid you can receive. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment and have no interest. Scholarships are practically free money. We say “practically” to let you know that scholarships do require a bit of work.

Each scholarship has an application process that students must fulfill. The application process always includes eligibility guidelines (also known as eligibility requirements), as well as submission materials.

A similar form of gift aid are grants. Grants have a similar, yet more detailed, application process. Also, most grants are geared towards funding research. Therefore, scholarships and grants are considered different forms of gift aid.

Why are scholarships important?

Scholarships help students cover costs associated with attending college. Scholarships can range in amount. There are scholarships as low as $50, and others reaching amounts to cover the full cost of tuition! A scholarship can really lighten the financial burden on families and individuals.

In comparison with other college-funding methods, scholarships create the greatest efficiency. Working a full-time job is effective, but takes away precious time from learning and life. With a scholarship, you can write an essay and possibly receive thousands of dollars.

Who can apply for scholarships and what are “eligibility requirements”?

Most Scholarships are intended to help students pursuing higher education (undergraduate and graduate students). These students tend to need the most assistance in covering education costs. Typically, scholarships focus on undergraduates, but there are scholarships available for graduate students and students under the age of 18.

In fact, every scholarship lists “eligibility requirements”. These requirements, created by the scholarship provider, determines if students are able to apply. For example, the requirements could be related to level of education, GPA, major, or residency.

What do I do to get a scholarship?

Along with eligibility requirements, many scholarships will ask you to submit information or work. Common tasks when applying for scholarships include essays, short questions, letter of recommendation, portfolio, and school information. Not all scholarships have the same application process. Keeping this mind, always fully read the instructions while applying.

Where do I apply for scholarships?

Scholarships can be found through a number of resources. There are websites, apps, and bulletins with scholarships waiting to be found. These resources are generally accessible to everyone. Of course, the efficiency of each site differs. Read our comparison of various scholarship websites to give yourself a better idea of what is available.

You can check out this article to read our tips for scholarship search strategy.

Be mindful of scholarship scams. Impostors may ask you to pay up front for a scholarship. This is a huge warning sign. You never pay to receive a scholarship.

Do I need to live in a specific location?

This question has more to do with the eligibility requirements listed on each scholarship. As a rule of thumb, most scholarships require students to be a US citizen. You may find scholarships available to international students or DACA recipients do exist. More localized scholarships will be specified by county, city, and state.

Where does scholarship money come from?

Scholarship money can be from fundraisers, a percentage of a membership, a huge charitable donation, a company’s profits, or the like. This money is then distributed by the government, a for-profit, or non-profit as gift aid. Schools also provide scholarships, but this is typically in partnership with one of the providers previously listed. These organizations make the decision to support students with their education through financial assistance.

The majority of the organizations will host scholarships supporting the advancement of a cause related to the business or organization.

Now you know all the important information of how scholarships work. All that is left to do, is find and apply for scholarships. Really want to get ahead in the game? Sign up for Going Merry to be easily matched with great scholarships today.

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