5 Things you Didn't Know About Colleges

1. College Scholarships

Types of Scholarships

There are many types of scholarships for college that students can be eligible for.  As an overarching framework, scholarships can be grouped into a couple different categories when doing your research.  The important thing to note is that scholarships won’t come to you, you have to make the effort and actively seek and apply for scholarships.

Scholarships that students sometime skip over and let others reap the benefits of include:

  • Merit Based Scholarships – These scholarships are academic financial awards based on GPA, field of study, test scores, and other types of academic criteria.  For minority students with good grades, there are many academic scholarships specifically designated for specific ethnic groups.  We will be posting ethnic scholarships shortly.
  • Athletic Scholarships – These scholarships are given to student-athletes who excel in a particular sport.  Although a student must have a minimum GPA for college entrance and eligibility, these awards typically are awarded based on ability and skill.  Once awarded, athletes must maintain academic good standing and show satisfactory progress in all courses.  The amount of scholarship awarded is based on the sport and the number they have to award.  This varies from college to college.
  • Need Based Scholarships – Typically, these scholarships ask you to complete the FAFSA, show proof of financial need (for example, in the form of tax forms, check stubs, etc.).  Academic performance is also taken into account when scholarship committees are reviewing these applications.
  • Group Specific Scholarships – Special groups such as women, minorities, faith-based organizations, and special membership have access to specific scholarships.  These scholarships are awarded when schools or programs are looking to increase the number of a specific group of students and they offer scholarships to help pay for attendance.  For example, awarding more scholarships for women to increase the number of women at an institution or program.
  • Career and Major Scholarships – Scholarships for students based on the certificate, major, or degree program a student is pursuing.  Currently, with President Obama’s goal of increasing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) majors and making the US a leading educational powerhouse, scholarships in these fields are in abundance.  Other popular careers are in the health care field and allied health. Nursing scholarships are among one of the more popular scholarships available.  You can read more on nursing scholarships by visiting: Nursing360.
  • Institutional Scholarships – Scholarships are awarded by colleges and schools as part of their financial aid options.  Typically, financial aid offices run the major institutional scholarships, but programs throughout campus tends to award their own scholarships (i.e. EOP, DSPS, Health Services, Counseling, etc.)

For more information on scholarships, visit our scholarships page.

2. College Grants

When it comes to college and finding financial aid to pay for college, it can sometimes be a little unclear what the differences are between the types of aid.  The most important piece to being awarded money for college is applying for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Once the FAFSA is complete, you will automatically know if you will be eligible for aid and the type of aid you have been awarded.

Depending on the unmet need a student may have, some common sources of funding include:

  1. Federal and state government grants
  2. College and university grants
  3. Public and private organization grants

Because most grant recipients come from low socio-economic backgrounds or are otherwise economically disadvantaged, there are many grants specifically designed for minority and low-income students.

For more information on scholarships, visit our grants page.

3. Student Loans

When you apply for the FAFSA, you are submitting an application to the Department of Education to review your information and award you financial assistance. This is why your FAFSA application is so important, it provides them with information about your family size, household income, and any special circumstances they should consider.  The number of brothers and sisters who are also in college, as well as your parents’ income level are used to calculate your estimated family contribution (EFC).  Your EFC is the number that will way heavily in the process

Your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is the foundation of your individual Student Aid Report or SAR, the report used by all colleges and universities in the United States that determine your financial aid eligibility.

Once your college gets your SAR, they will extend an offer to you, which includes a variety of types of aid, including grants, loans, and work study.  Historically, Stafford Loans were most commonly awarded.  Today, these loans are referred to as Federal Direct Student Loans.  The difference between the two is that now, there are no private lenders involved, the loans are guaranteed by the government.

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program administers direct student loans such as:

  • Subsidized Direct Loans
  • Unsubsidized Direct Loans
  • PLUS Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans
  • Perkins Loans (not part of the Federal Direct Student Loans program)

For more information on scholarships, visit our student loans page.

4. Online College Courses

College is now a flexible environment where students can complete degree programs at their own pace.  As a matter of fact, if you never wanted to step foot in a physical classroom, you would never have to.  Online classes are convenient, but they are not for everyone.  If you need more of the guided work and needing to meet in person in order to be held accountable for your work and progress, there are hybrid programs you can enroll in that helps provide the flexibility you need having a busy life, yet keeps you on track by meeting in person periodically.

For more information on scholarships, visit our online courses page.

5. College Applications

Examples of personal statements and college applications will be posted.