Scholarships can be found through colleges and universities, community organizations, the federal government, the state government and through employers. Students are always interested in scholarship opportunities because scholarships are essentially "free money" and do not need to be paid back as loans do.
Follow these steps to exhaust every possible scholarship opportunity:
Step 1: Fill out the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is necessary for almost all scholarships, but particularly for those scholarships provided by the federal government as well as the state government and the college that the student will be attending.
Step 2: Government
Look at federal websites to find the federal grants and then at state websites to find the state grants offered.
Step 3: Visit the financial aid office at the university
Once a student has been accepted into university, he or she can go to the school's financial aid office and ask about the scholarships that they offer. Applications are often involved so be sure to ask early on. The school can also point students in the right direction for additional non-school scholarship possibilities.
Step 4: Check out scholarship websites
There are many specific scholarships, such as scholarships for military families, high school achievements, scholarships for essay contests and scholarships for sports play in high school. Students should explore every possible option and many sites have great lists that make it easy to see whether or not they qualify for the scholarship.
Step 5: Community and employers
Check out the community organizations in the neighborhood and see if there are any scholarships there. Students' employers and their parents' employers can also offer scholarships, which are worth applying for.