Obtaining a higher education can be prohibitively expensive, unfortunately preventing many deserving students from attending college and advancing themselves in that way.
Student loans can help cover the cost of learning, but for many the cost of loan repayments after college is as prohibitive as the cost of tuition during college.
There are many different types of scholarships offered by a wide range of benefactors to help remedy this situation. Institutional scholarships are offered by the specific college or university the student plans to attend. These will have to be applied for at your school of choice, and can be either based on merit, such as an athletics scholarship, or based on financial need. There are a number of different state and federal scholarship programs based largely on sociological criteria, like race, religion or nationality. Other governmentbacked scholarships are those offered by the armed forces, which of course require time served in the military.
The largest pool of potential scholarships are private scholarships offered by foundations that want to educate more students in a certain field, businesses looking to groom their next generation of leaders or organizations seeking to aid disadvantaged youth in general. These types of scholarships will often have strings attached, like guaranteeing you will complete your studies in a particular field or making a postgraduation commitment to a certain company.
Other private scholarships include those provided to the children of employees of some companies or the members of major labor unions, as well as scholarships offered by some churches or church denominations, though those are often reserved for students planning to study theology.
Governmentbacked and private scholarships can also be based either on merit or on financial need, but it should be noted that even when they are based on financial need, the scholastic merits of the applicants will be a major deciding factor in who receives the scholarship. So donít plan on getting a scholarship based solely on your financial situation. You also need the grades.
As with most of the topics related to getting into, attending and paying for college, finding scholarship programs is most easily done using the Internet. And as with all those other topics, when looking for a scholarship program online you must beware of scams. Initial research and checking with some watchdog sites will prevent a lot of potential frustration.
Some truly helpful websites like College Scholarships.org will help you search for available scholarships you may be eligible for, and assist in preparing the documents and/or essays needed to apply.