There are many benefits to receiving one or more private scholarships. It eases the financial burden of getting a college degree and minimizes the need for student loans. And you can concentrate on your studies while you are in school.
However, scholarship applicants may face some potential pitfalls along the way. The odds of winning a scholarship are often low, so be aware of scholarship scams, evictions, and scholarship taxes.
Learning how to anticipate and respond to these scholarship pitfalls can increase your chances of scholarship success. This article will discuss many considerations you should take before applying for a scholarship. This will help you feel more confident throughout the process.
Scholarship Notes: Things to Consider Before Applying
Many students did not qualify for their desired scholarships because they were unaware of the problems that could arise when applying. Let’s take a closer look at some common hurdles, starting with the odds of winning a scholarship in the first place.
Low chance of getting a scholarship
For most students, private scholarships are part of their plan to pay for college tuition, but not the whole plan.
More than 1.5 million private scholarships are awarded each year, worth more than $6 billion, according to National Post-Secondary Student Aid Survey (NPSAS) data. Most of this funding will be donated to undergraduate students. Unfortunately, the odds of winning a private scholarship are pretty low.
Only 1 in 8 students seeking a bachelor’s degree use private scholarships to pay for college tuition, averaging $4,200 a year, compared to four-year colleges. equivalent to 15% of the average annual attendance of
Few students win a “free ride” on private scholarships alone. Consider the following stats:
- Only 0.1% of undergraduates won private scholarships of $25,000 or more.
- Less than 1 percent (0.9%) won scholarships of $10,000 or more.
- Nearly all private scholarship recipients (97%) win scholarships of $2,500 or less.
Students with good grades and test scores are more likely to win private scholarships.
- Students with a high school grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher are twice as likely to win a private scholarship, accounting for more than four-fifths of private scholarship recipients.
- Students with above average SAT and ACT test scores are twice as likely to win a private scholarship.
- More than half of students who score a perfect 1600 on the SAT win private scholarships
- More than one-third of students who score a perfect 36 on the ACT win a private scholarship.
However, less than 0.1% of admissions test takers achieve perfect scores on the SAT or ACT tests each year.
Tips for finding scholarships
Here are some tips to increase your odds of winning a private scholarship.
- Start looking for scholarships as soon as possible. The sooner you start looking for scholarships, the less likely you are to miss the deadline. If you wait until spring to look for scholarships, you’ll miss half the deadline. You do not need to apply until you are in your third year of high school. In addition to high school students, there are also scholarships for elementary and junior high school students. You can continue to receive scholarships even after entering university.
- Search for free online scholarship matching sites. There is a lot of duplication in our scholarship database, but each database has some scholarships that are not included in the other database. The biggest and most popular scholarship search sites are: fastweb.com and the A Big Future for University Boards.
- When using the scholarship matching website, answering the optional questions will allow for more matches. Students who answer optional questions in addition to required questions are more likely to win double scholarships.
- Look for near-mismatches who just barely missed out on matching scholarships. A 0.1 point increase in your GPA or a 50 point increase in your SAT test score may qualify you for more scholarships. This will motivate you to study more. However, if you do not meet the selection criteria, please do not apply for the scholarship.
- You can search for scholarships offline as well as online. Online scholarship searches involve a more targeted matching process, whereas offline scholarship searches are more exploratory. Look for books on scholarships in the jobs and careers section of your local public library or bookstore. But check the copyright date first. If the book is more than a year or two old, it’s too old to be useful because about 10% of the information changes each year. Local awards are posted on bulletin boards outside the school counselor’s office and on the school website.
Note: The more scholarships you apply for, the better your chances of winning.
- Apply for all eligible scholarships. it has been said Missed shots are 100% missed. This also applies to scholarships. If you do not apply, you cannot be selected. It’s a numbers game. Who wins depends not only on skill but also on luck. The more entries you submit, the better your chances of winning. Applying takes a lot of effort, but it gets easier after a while because you can reuse your essay for each new scholarship program with minor adjustments.
- Pursue less competitive scholarships. This also includes small prizes and essay contests. Winning a few small scholarships can quickly lead to large sums of money.
- Ask your principal or school counselor to nominate you. Provide them with a copy of your resume. This helps them complete their nominations. Your CV summarizes your hobbies, activities, honors and awards.
The Scholarship Myth: The Myth of Unclaimed Aid
The false allegation that billions of dollars in scholarships go unclaimed each year is still circulating. This falsehood is often advertised by paid scholarship matching services to convince students to use their scholarship databases. Free scholarship matching services are better so you don’t have to pay to look for scholarships.
Furthermore, the reality is that almost all scholarship programs have a large pool of eligible applicants for each scholarship. In some cases, hundreds of students apply for his one scholarship award.
Due to the strict selection criteria, some scholarships are not applied for. for example, Zorp Scholarship Loyola University in Chicago is available to students born with the surname Zolp. The name must appear on both birth and baptism certificates. You cannot change your name to qualify.
Although millions of students are eligible, there is one form of financial aid that is not claimed, and that is the Federal Pell Grant. Nearly two million students who did not submit a Federal Student Aid Grant Application (FAFSA) in 2015-2016 could have been eligible for federal Pell grants if they had submitted a FAFSA. . Of these, 1.2 million would have been eligible for the maximum federal Pell subsidy.
Beware of Potential Scholarship Scams
It is important to be aware of various scholarship scams that continue to circulate. Here are some rules to follow to avoid getting scammed.
- Never pay and receive money (it’s a scam). Scholarships are about giving money, not receiving money. Scams focus on getting you to pay money or steal your personal information. A good rule of thumb: don’t invest more than stamps to look up information or apply for scholarships.
- Do not give out personal information to others. You do not need to provide a bank account or credit card number to apply for the scholarship. A dunning letter allows a thief to empty your bank account using only the account number and bank routing number found on the bottom of the check.
- Don’t share your social security number. Scholarship providers do not need your social security number, even if you win a scholarship. Scholarship providers do not report scholarships to her IRS. Instead, the scholarship recipient is responsible for reporting the taxable portion of the scholarship on their federal income tax return.
And remember, no one can guarantee that you will get a scholarship, even if you pay for it.
What is Scholarship Replacement?
Scholarship replacement occurs when obtaining a private scholarship reduces funding to the university. About half of scholarship recipients experience a scholarship transfer.
Winning a private scholarship reduces your financial need, so colleges may reduce need-based financial aid packages. However, universities have some flexibility in how they reduce their financial aid packages. They can choose to apply for scholarships for unmet needs, they can choose to reduce loans before work and work before subsidies. The unmet need, or gap, averages more than $10,000 a year, leaving plenty of room for private scholarship to absorb.
Look for the university’s “External Scholarship Policy” on the university’s website. This specifies how the university will cut financial aid if the student wins a private scholarship.
Even some colleges, which claim not to be involved in replacing scholarships, reduce their grants the following year if a student receives a renewable scholarship. They take renewable scholarships for granted. This is called “stealth displacement”.
Workarounds include seeking adjustments for college attendance fees (such as covering the actual cost of college textbooks or covering the cost of computers and peripherals) or deferring scholarships to the next year. . Keep receipts for books, essentials, and equipment, and ask the college to adjust the cost of attendance if the total cost exceeds what the student’s budget allows.
Ask your scholarship provider for help. Scholarship providers want to know if a scholarship has expired. In some cases, we may negotiate with the university on your behalf or provide assistance in other ways.
Interestingly, six states have passed laws banning the expulsion of scholarships.
Tips for Maintaining Your Scholarship
Some scholarships are renewable, but you may need to maintain a minimum GPA, participate in community service, or send regular reports to your scholarship provider.
Getting a scholarship was the hardest. Find out what you need to do to keep your scholarship. Even if the scholarship cannot be renewed, send a thank you letter to the scholarship sponsor telling them how the scholarship has changed your life.
I recall an example when a student wrote a heartfelt thank you for a scholarship and the scholarship provider was so moved that she converted her non-renewable scholarship into a four-year scholarship.
How does scholarship tax work?
Scholarships are tax-free when used to pay for tuition, required fees, books, supplies and equipment. Amounts spent on living expenses such as housing, meal plans and transportation are taxable.
Scholarship recipients must be pursuing a degree or certificate. Scholarships should not be a fee for services rendered to the university. Exceptions exist for tuition waivers, comprehensive student work-learning services programs run by vocational colleges, the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program, and the Military Health Professionals Scholarship.
Some scholarship providers award scholarships through the 529 College Savings Plan due to tax benefits. The distributions covered by the 529 plan include not only tuition and textbooks, but also room and board (if the student is enrolled at least half the term), computer costs (including peripherals, software, and Internet access). ), and any special needs. .
If a scholarship provider recently donated funds to the 529 Plan, the impact of non-qualified distributions from the 529 Plan would be minimal, so they would not have time to accumulate earnings. Taxes on non-qualified distributions are calculated based on the earnings portion of the distribution. 529 plans can also be effective in avoiding transfer of scholarships.
As you can see, the world of private college scholarships is complicated. So you should always do proper research to increase your chances of winning one or more scholarships, as well as avoid potential pitfalls.