You want to go to college but you don’t know how you’re going to afford it. Perhaps you’re already IN college but need more help paying the bills so you can focus on your studies. There are a lot of FREE resources available to help you out. Every year lots of money set aside for scholarships goes un-used. Here are some links to help you get connected with some funding sources to pay for your education:
First – become familiar with TERI – The Education Resources Institute. Go to the workshop on April 7th that TERI’s hosting at the Dudley Square branch. Call them at 877-ED-AID-4u (877-332-4348). TERI provides “Free assistance with planning and paying for college and other career-building programs”.
The United States Department of Education web site has a page all about FUNDING YOUR EDUCATION. Naturally, it has a link to “Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid“. It also has an in-direct link to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Office of Student Financial Assistance. The page also contains this very wise advice” you can find out about nonfederal scholarships and other sources of aid in several ways, including contacting the financial aid offices at the schools you plan to attend and checking information in a public library or online. But be careful. Make sure scholarship information and offers you receive are legitimate. Don’t get scammed: You don’t have to pay to find scholarships.” More helpful tips are also on their page, “How do I find out about scholarships?”
The Federal Financial Aid and Scholarship Wizard is another great site that can help walk you through your search for money for your education.
Sallie Mae, the Fortune 500 company that manages $188 billion in educational loans and serves 10 million student and parent customers, offers a free scholarship search as well (you will have to register to use it).
Scholarships.com is a constantly updated site that claims to be the “largest free and independent college scholarship search and financial aid information resource on the Internet”. Their site allows students to search 2.7 million college scholarships and grants worth over $19 billion and quickly arrive at a list of awards for which they qualify. And it’s all free.
The United States Department of Agriculture offers student programs, scholarships, and internships. Details are online here.
Many non-profit organizations offer special scholarships. As always, you’ll want to pay close attention to what their requirements are and make sure you get everything in before their various deadlines. Here are a few to get you started:
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund works to develop and prepare a new generation of leaders by providing leadership development, scholarships, resources, opportunities and advocacy to Public Historically Black Colleges & Universities, students and alumni.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association offers awards to increase diversity in athletics.
For 40 years the American Political Science Association has offered a minority fellowship program in efforts to increase the number of minority scholars in the discipline. While the deadline for the next round has not yet been announced, it will likely be in October, 2010.
The National Association of Black Journalists annually awards more than $60,000 in scholarships to deserving students interested in pursuing careers in journalism.
Current students interested in studying abroad should definitely check out the SIT Graduate Institute. Among lots of other resources, they offer a list of funding sources for international study.
It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness: Students in undergraduate and graduate programs at accredited colleges and universities are invited to interpret the message and mission of the Christophers in short films of five minutes or less. Every year for the past 23 years they award prizes up to $2,000 to their favorites. The next deadline is coming up in June, 2010.
The Ayn Rand Institute awards $81,250 in prize money each year to the winners of its essay contests. Their three contests are for 8th, 9th, and 10th graders (this deadline passed on March 20, 2010), 11th and 12th graders (deadline of April 26, 2010), and college students and graduating high school seniors (deadline September 17, 2010).
The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation awards grants to Gates Millennium Scholars. This years recipients are currently being notified (the deadline passed in January). Among other requirements, recipients of this money are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander American, or Hispanic American; have attained a cumulative GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale (un-weighted); and have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular or other activities.
Many corporations also offer scholarships to students. Some are available only to children of employees, some only to employees themselves, and yet others are available to the general public. You should always check with any company you and your parents have any relationship to see what if anything they have available. A few companies that offer money to the general public (with restrictions of course – read the fine print) follow.
Microsoft offers four different types of technical scholarships for the 2010-2011 academic year to current undergraduate students: General Scholarships, Women’s Scholarships, Minority Scholarships, and Scholarships for Students with Disabilities. The deadline for this year’s awards has already passed. If you’re interested in becoming a computer scientist though, bookmark this for next year!
Xerox also offers a Technical Minority Scholarship of $1,000 to $10,000 to qualified minorities enrolled in a technical degree program at the bachelor level or above.
The Coca-Cola Company has awarded more than $38 million in scholarships. In addition, their First Generation Scholarship program has awarded more than $19 million in scholarships to support students who are the first in their immediate families to go to college.