Applying for scholarships can seem like a daunting task, but the effort is often worth it. In addition to potentially covering the cost of tuition, scholarships can offer other financial benefits as well.
Vincent Camarda suggests that “students should begin the search for scholarships as early as possible, and they should also be prepared to devote a significant amount of time to the process.”
Loans vs. Grants
One of the primary benefits of scholarships is that they do not have to be repaid. Scholarships are considered grants, which means they are gifts of money that do not need to be repaid. Loans, on the other hand, are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. As such, receiving a scholarship can save you a significant amount of money over the course of your college career.
Employer Matching Programs
In addition to helping you pay for school, some scholarships can also help you save for your future. Many employers offer matching programs for employees who contribute to their 401(k) or other retirement accounts. If you receive a scholarship that goes into your retirement account, your employer may offer to match a certain percentage of the funds—essentially giving you free money towards your retirement!
Another financial benefit of scholarships is that they may be eligible for certain tax breaks. For example, if you are receiving a need-based scholarship, the money you receive may not be considered taxable income. Consult with a tax advisor or accountant to see if your scholarships qualify for any tax breaks.
1. Start early: Don’t wait until your senior year of high school to start looking for scholarships. By starting the process early, you’ll have more time to find and apply for scholarships.
2. Utilize your resources: Talk to your guidance counselor, parents, and teachers to get ideas for where to look for scholarships. They may be able to point you in the right direction.
3. Do your research: There are millions of dollars in scholarship money available, so it’s important to do your research and find the ones that you’re eligible for. Use a scholarship search engine like ScholarshipOwl to help you narrow down your options.
4. Follow the instructions: Make sure you read the requirements and follow all of the instructions when applying for scholarships. Even small details can make a difference in whether or not you win the award.
5. Stay organized: The scholarship application process can be time-consuming, so it’s important to stay organized and keep track of deadlines. Use a spreadsheet or other system to help you keep track of everything.
Applying for financial scholarships can offer many benefits beyond just helping to pay for school. Be sure to do your research and take advantage of all the resources available to you to find the best scholarships for your needs!
While applying for scholarships may require some effort upfront, the financial benefits can be significant. Be sure to consider all of the ways that scholarships can help ease the financial burden of college when making your decision about whether or not to apply for one.