The Best College Scholarship Opportunities

Succeed with Scholarships: Build a Strategy

Believe it or not, as common a component in popular college culture as are scholarships, many students remain ignorant to the factors that define them. Scholarships are distinctly separate from other forms of student assistance, such as student loans and grants. We think “free” because scholarships are free from monetary repayment, however most are packaged with all manner of qualifying terms and conditions, criteria applicants must meet for consideration. Some even promise funds in return for service following graduation.

The big business of scholarships was spawned in response to the last two or three decades of steadily rising college tuition costs. Where once government student loans served as the main source for student assistance, grants and scholarships have appeared to fill in the growing gaps and to offer an expanded definition of student assistance.

Politics of Scholarships

Politics plays a critical, albeit latent role in scholarships. If you ever dip into education headlines you’ll quickly figure this out. Higher education in the U.S. has come under fire from critics that argue students in other parts of the world have surpassed U.S. students academically. In fact fat scholarships from government entities tease students into college majors in the sciences, math and engineering. Why? Because a number of years ago statistics showed that American students, in contrast to their international peers, were increasingly challenged in these fields. Federal scholarships were designed and coffers filled. Now the elite among U.S. college students are awarded top scholarships so that America may continue to academically compete in the international realm.

State and local politicians argue every day over next year’s college increases, for more federal money, for expanded state funds, and for freshly topped off or even new state student scholarships. Politicians that win funds for their constituents hit a majority of voters with kids to put through college. Others win programs that embrace large populations of underserved students, including minorities, low-income and those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

State sponsored lottery programs are about as political as you can get, yet the leading argument for many has been “to provide funds for education.” This is exactly what many have done.

Leading Scholarship Sources

Three main sources of scholarships include: federal, state and private. My articles on both federal scholarships and state and local scholarships provide a deeper level of information on both.

Build a Scholarship Strategy

The business of scholarships demands you approach them with a clear strategy:

Accessing Private Scholarship Sources

Private sources for scholarships may crop up in the unlikeliest of places. It seems as though more and more businesses have launched their own scholarships. In fact inherent in many private scholarships is the goal to advertise a business or organization. For this reason applicants might be required to be members of a professional organization, a client, a church parishioner, or a dependent of a company employee. Some sources at your disposal that may offer scholarships:

Search carefully for scholarships. Scams abound, just one more indication of the profitability in the business. Never, never pay a service to locate scholarship money. Access to sources is free. Good luck!