5 Tips to start applying for scholarships and grants

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This post was written by Reyna Gobel and originally posted on iGrad.

Don’t miss out on scholarships and grants you can still win for next fall. I’ve talked to families that are so amazing at the scholarship search that they didn’t need the money they saved for college.

Start applying for scholarships and grants with the following five tips:

1) FILL OUT THE FAFSA NOW

For nearly any scholarship that’s partially based on financial need, the school will need to know yours and possibly your family’s income and asset information. Most schools rely on the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) to obtain this data. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to fill out the FASFSA form if you haven’t done so already. Need help filling out the FAFSA? Check out our video guide to filling out the FAFSA in 7 easy steps!

2) Know your state deadlines.

You can learn about state grants by calling your school’s financial aid office. For instance, the state of Oregon offers a limited supply of $2,000 state grants, according to Jim Brooks, financial aid director of the University of Oregon. The earlier you apply, the better your chances are of receiving these funds.  You should also remember to list state schools first when filling out the FAFSA. If you’re already in college and don’t plan on transferring, just list the school you’re currently attending.

3) Do your own research on private scholarship deadlines.

Most of the time, your college won’t know about private scholarship deadlines. Go back to the original website or slip of paper you found the scholarship on and check when applications are due. While you’re seeking out information, also look for additional scholarships at your workplace and from scholarships websites such as collegeweeklive.com and fastweb.com.

4) Ask your school’s financial aid office about institutional   money and scholarships.

It’s essentially the old adage, ask and you shall receive. Not all scholarships and financial aid available through your school’s financial aid office are automatically applied for when submitting the FAFSA. If you’re on campus, set an appointment to meet in person with a financial aid officer. Find out rules for applying for any scholarship or grant you could win. So as amendment to the old adage: ask and you shall you receive but only if you put the required work in.

Important note: Scholarships and grants are essentially the same thing: money awarded to help pay for your education.

Also, check out our post on Scholly – an app that will allow you to see available scholarships you qualify on your mobile device!

5) Check on departmental scholarships separately.

Your department may have an array of scholarships you could qualify to receive, ranging from $500 scholarships all the way up to full tuition. Talk to your department, too. Always ask about qualifications and deadlines. If you’re required to submit a recommendation letter, make sure you give your recommender at least a week to write it. Then follow up to make sure it was sent to the right email or physical address.

With the cost of education continuing to increase, applying for financial aid is becoming more and more important to today’s higher education students. Have questions about how you will fund your college education? Contact your credit union for recommendations and next steps!

Not a member of a credit union? Experience the difference and find a credit union with our CU Select Tool now!

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