There are at least five different options available to help pay for a college education. It's possible to use money from a savings account, obtain a federal student loan or grant, apply for a private loan, or get a college scholarship.
Fortunately for students, there are many scholarship programs available to help pay for college costs. This happens because it takes very little effort to set up a scholarship; virtually anyone can set up a fund. The amount of money offered ranges from programs that pay for a candidate's entire college education to those offering several hundred dollars of aid each year.
The types of college scholarships found in the marketplace today vary greatly. Some programs are offered to students that study in a particular area such as accounting or biology. Others are offered to individuals based on race or gender. For example, African Americans are provided scholarship opportunities through the United Negro College Fund.
To make it easier to understand where to find information, we're going to provide lists of resources that are broken down into two groups:
This first list contains the larger providers of scholarship information on the Internet. These websites tend to offer general databases of opportunities from around the country, which end users can query to find contact information or detailed qualifications.
The Scholarships Page was started in 1997 out of a student's frustration when looking for information to help pay for college expenses. This website does not offer scholarships directly; rather it allows the user to browse for information based on gender, heritage, area of study, and state of residence.
Scholarships.com is both a popular and free college scholarship search website that can help students find information and resources on the Internet. Users need to create a personal profile, and once created, Scholarships.com matches the information with relevant and attainable college scholarship awards.
CollegeNet.com claims to store a database of over 600,000 college scholarships representing $1.6 billion in annual funds. The website includes both keyword search and profile search features. CollegeNet also claims to take steps to protect personal information, and does not share profiles with marketers.
This next list of resources is targeted to certain college students. The targeting is sometimes based on factors such as ethnic background, race, or gender. Others are targeted to employees that have worked in certain government jobs.
The National Foster Parent Association offers scholarships to foster children so they can pursue education beyond high school. Scholarships are offered for college or university study, vocational, and correspondence courses.
A second source of college scholarships for foster youth can be found by searching through the Education and Training Voucher program at the state level. Qualifying individuals are eligible to receive up to $5,000 per year while attending school.
The American Indian College Fund distributes roughly $5.4 million to more than 4,200 individuals (as of 2012 / 2013). Students are selected based on academic success, community involvement, and financial need.
There are literally thousands of scholarships administered through the United Negro College Fund, with funding provided by individuals and businesses alike. Scholarships are based on grade point average as well as unmet financial need as verified by the college financial aid office. To qualify for a scholarship, students must have first completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The Society of Women Engineers provides college scholarships to young women that have been admitted into accredited programs in preparation for a career in engineering, engineering technology, and computer science. Each year, this society makes available roughly $550,000 in funding to approximately 200 female students.
The U.S. Senate Youth Program is a scholarship made available to college students that were President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer of their high school class or any other civic or educational organization. Each year, two students from each state are awarded $5,000 in college funding for undergraduate studies.
Finally, the Foster Care to Success helps orphans and foster youth that want to attend college and vocational schools find scholarships. All scholarships are awarded based on eligibility and academic achievement.
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