It’s no secret that higher education has become outrageously expensive. With that in mind, it’s worth putting in some serious effort to find yourself some financial aid that doesn’t have to be paid back—that is, scholarships and grants. Yes, it can be time consuming to look for scholarships and to fill out all of those applications, and it can be frustrating when the answer is “no” (and it will be more often than not, most likely). But with some work, you can reduce your student loan debt and your stress level by finding some free money—so believe me, it’s worth all that painful effort!
So where do you find scholarships? Here’s one thing many students don’t know: most scholarships are local, as opposed to national. That is, you’ll find lots of businesses, religious organizations, minority organizations, and others who are looking to give away money to students from a specific geographic region. These scholarships usually are for less money than national scholarships—but they also are far less competitive.
How do you find these local scholarships? Your high school guidance counselor or college advisor is one good source to ask. Be sure to visit the library and check out the most recent scholarship directory you can find. If you or your parents belong to a community or religious group, ask if there are any scholarships available to members, or if they can refer you in the direction of a scholarship. Also, take a look in local publications. And, of course, you’ll want to search the Internet.
One thing to watch out for: companies that want to sell you information about scholarships and grants. They’re all over the Internet. Scholarship and grant information is readily available for free, so don’t let anyone sucker you into this scam.
Remember, lots of money is out there. You just need to take the time to apply, and to have a thick enough skin to deal with rejection. Best of luck searching for scholarships and grants!