November is National Scholarship Month! It is dedicated to raise awareness of scholarship opportunities for current and future college students. Now is a great time to begin applying for those scholarships.
Grants and scholarships are often called “gift aid” because they are free money – financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. College-bound students can learn about grants and scholarships in several ways, but the most -effective strategy starts with contacting the financial aid office at the college or university you plan to attend.
We all know college can be expensive, but scholarships can do a lot to help that financial burden. Here are some tips for applying for scholarships:
- Apply for as many scholarships as you can! Make it a weekly thing to sit down and apply to as many scholarships as you can. The more you apply to, the more chances you have to receive a scholarship. Check with your employer or parent’s employer to see if they offer scholarships to their employees and their families.
- Make sure you read the directions through! Not following the directions can disqualify you from receiving that scholarship.
- Plan ahead! Make sure you give yourself plenty of time before the deadlines to finish your application.
- Make sure you are doing your own work! Doing your own work because it makes it more authentic when you are telling your story. Make sure to share passions, dreams, and important events that got you to where you are today.
- Remember scholarship money is generally tax free! Provided you are a candidate for a degree at an eligible institution and use the money to pay for qualified expenses.
- Education Tax Credits! These include the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. Make sure you take advantage of these credits on your tax return.
- Avoid Student Loan Scams! Beware: You should never have to pay for help with your federal financial aid or student loans. Make sure you understand which companies and claims are legitimate.
This is for educational purposes only and not to be considered specific advice.