The Scholarship Equation
Understand the good math behind scholarships from organizations.
The Scholarship Equation of Financial Aid
So you have done your homework on local, state, and national scholarships that you may be eligible for. In fact, you slaved over your essays, tracked down your references letters, double checked all of your grammar on your application, and ensured all the documents were submitted on time electronically and through snail mail. What next? Understand the scholarship math at all the schools you are applying to for admission.
When it comes to institutional financial aid, every college and university can set-up their own rules. Be certain to ask how scholarships from organizations fit in with the other forms of financial aid you have received. Colleges and universities may incorporate these scholarships in various ways. For some colleges, they may replace student loans and work-study dollar for dollar with these scholarship funds to meet the cost of attendance. For others, they may apply a formula like the first $1,000 reduces your student loan, for any amounts over $1,000 the amount will reduce your institutional scholarship by 50% of the remaining value. Yikes, you want to be prepared for this.
Make certain that you report all awarded these scholarship funds to the college financial aid and admissions offices. Ask for an updated financial aid offer to reflect the additional scholarship funds.
Most scholarship organizations ask you to fill out forms in order to get your scholarship funds. These forms range from enrollment verification forms to press release documents to tax forms, Whatever the documents are, ensure you know how to get these forms and when then need to completed by to make certain you get your scholarship disbursement in a timely manner.
Also, be aware of how the scholarship organizations will send the funds. Some may send you a check that you are expected to send the college to pay your educational costs. Many organizations, send a single
payment directly to the college like National Merit $2,500 Scholarships. Others may split the payments evenly over the number of semesters or quarters you will be attending for a specific year. For instance, GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program sends two equal installments in early August and mid-December and requires a full-time course load, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and submission of a written personal update annually for renewal.
Colleen MacDonald Krumwiede is a financial aid and paying for college expert with over a decade of financial aid experience at Stanford GSB, Caltech, and Pomona College and another decade at educational finance and technology companies servicing higher education. She guides go-to-market strategy and product development at Quatromoney to transform the way families afford college.