Scholarship Myths

Five common myths about college scholarships debunked.

Keep these five scholarship myths in mind during the college application process. With proper research, almost anyone can receive some form of financial aid.

Every year, thousands of qualified students miss out on merit based scholarships, college grants, and other forms of financial aid simply because they did not put in the time to find them.

Scholarship Myth #1: You have to qualify for federal loans to receive scholarships from your university or private sources.

If you don’t receive tuition assistance through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), don’t think it will hinder your chances to receive other forms of financial aid. University grants and private scholarships operate independently of the Federal Government and have their own set of criteria. For example; the University of Arizona physics department explicitly states that GPA, projects, and student involvement play a much larger role in determining who receives financial aid.

Scholarship Myth #2: You have to be a straight A student to receive a college scholarship.

One of the biggest myths about college scholarships is that only Valedictorians and high academic achievers receive them. While GPA is one of the biggest factors in determining financial aid, it’s not the only one. Universities and private organizations award scholarships based on athletic ability, ethnicity, religion, and community involvement, in addition to academics. There are even left handed scholarships for southpaws out there—you’d be amazed what traits you have that can help pay the bills.

Scholarship Myth #3: Private universities have greater scholarship funds, making final tuition cheaper than at public universities.

Although private universities tend to give out more scholarships than public universities, the cost of tuition is generally much higher, and in some cases a scholarship may not offset the difference in tuition between a public and private college. Make sure you examine all expenses and not just tuition to get a more accurate idea of what you can and cannot afford.

Scholarship Myth #4: You cannot apply for financial aid until you’ve been accepted to a college.

Federal loans are given out on a first-come/first-serve basis, the same with many private organizations. You want to begin your scholarship research in concurrence with your general college research. Set a goal to send out scholarship applications with your college applications.

Scholarship Myth #5: A full scholarship means I won’t have to pay for anything.

A “full” scholarship typically covers tuition in its entirety. However, this is far from the only expense you’ll have as a college student. Room and board, books, and other living expenses are typically lumped into what’s known as “out-of-pocket expenses”, which can be as low as $200 a year as part of a “full ride,” according to the National College Players Association. If you receive a full scholarship, be grateful, but assume you’ll still have to contribute some of your own funds to live comfortably.

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