Hey!  Tonight let’s continue our financial aid discussion with a talk about scholarships and grants.   These are absolutely awesome aid types because you don’t owe anything later.  We in the financial aid biz call this gift aid. All-aboard the free money train.

Some scholarships…Scholarship money is provided by schools (ask your financial aid office) and organizations of all kinds.  Scholarships are very competitive because there are thousands of students grabbing for one scholarship check.  In all, there are countless scholarships to be won, but it’s a rat race and you have to shine your brightest when applying.  Highlight you best skills, achievements and traits to give yourself the best shot possible.

  • Sallie Mae Scholarships.  Sallie Mae is government-affiliated funding.  Many scholarships are awarded, and winners are chosen at random.  Amounts range from the $100s to a full ride.  Recipients must be U.S. citizens attending undergraduate schools.
  • The Christopher Reeve Award.  This scholarship, sponsored by the Heart of America Foundation promoting children’s literacy, awards outstanding youths.  Middle school and high school students who are active in community volunteerism and have proven compassion and courage are recognized for their selfless acts.  Each year one recipient is awarded $1,000 for their future college pursuits.
  • WikiAnswers Scholarship.  Answers.com has launched its $20,000 Answers.com Scholarship Fund this year to provide funds to outstanding students.  With a grand total of $20,000, the site is now offering one $5,000 scholarship, two $2,500 scholarships and 10 $1,000 scholarships to Answers.com junkies who have responded to no less than 50 questions on its Wiki site.  Applicants must plan to attend an undergraduate program for the next academic year, and will be judged based on the accuracy and usefulness of solutions they provide to their selected 50 questions.

And grants…Grants are applied for via FAFSA (federal grants) or are provided by outside organizations.

  • Federal Pell Grant.  The requirements for the grant are pretty minimal and straightforward, one being that you must attend a participating university.  The Pell Grant is based mostly on your level of financial need.  Students are reminded to study diligently, though, because the grant can be revoked due to poor academic performance.  Funds are sent to either the school or directly to the student.  For a more in-depth look, take a look at Pell Grant Eligibility.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).  The same basic requirements factor into the FSEOG.  In contrast, however, this grant is reserved for students with exceptional financial need.  The FSEOG encourages lower income individuals to pursue college, providing funds to students with a low Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Grant (OVR).  Pittsburgh students may be able to take advantage of this opportunity with the help of their college.  OVR exists to help students and professionals find jobs and get educational assistance in college (i.e. special accommodations, extended and/or private test taking, etc.).  OVR helps college students who have legitimate medical or personal difficulties by supplying $2,000 per semester grants.

Free financial aid is probably the best kind.  Scholarships and grants leave need to worry about owing money later, just pure financial assistance.  Scholarships, while competitive, are available in every area imaginable and in varying amounts.  Grants are often thought of in terms of government aid, but are also sponsored by organizations.  You can’t go wrong.  If you had any worries about financial aid, hopefully we’ve offered some comfort.  If you’re still uneasy, check out our solutions for more help.

Categories: Financial Aid | Grants | Scholarships
Tags: federal grants financial aid grants scholarships

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