Scholarships for College

Scholarships for College: All You Need to Know

Student loan debt has hit an all-time high of $1.59 trillion in January 2022, with borrowers graduating college with an average debt of $28,950.

If you want to graduate with less debt, it is critical that you maximize your financial aid.

Scholarships are a great way to pay for college because, unlike loans, you don’t have to pay back a scholarship that you get.

Here’s what you need to know about scholarships for college:

When to apply for scholarships 

Each scholarship has a specific deadline. These deadlines occur throughout the year, so you can find one for any time of the year. Keep in mind, however, that some scholarship deadlines may fall months, even a year, before the start of the academic year for which you’re seeking a scholarship.  

So, if you’re a high school student looking to get a scholarship for your freshman year of college, you should start the search process early. While you don’t necessarily have to apply for scholarships in your freshman or sophomore year, you will develop a sense of scholarships that are available so you can apply when you’re ready. 

If you’re a current college student, you should be looking for scholarships throughout the year. That way, if you find an award that appeals to you, you’ll be ahead of the game. 

And when you apply, be sure to meet the deadline for each specific scholarship. 

How to apply for scholarships

Each scholarship has its own unique requirements and qualifications. As a general rule, though, stay away from scholarships that require you to pay a fee to apply.

The first step to successfully applying for any scholarship is reading the details carefully. Make sure that you fit the eligibility criteria and fill out the application completely. 

Pay attention to what’s required of you. For example, if you need a recommendation letter, you should request one way ahead of time so you have one by the time you apply. If an essay is required, start writing weeks before the deadline so you have an essay you can be proud of before the due date.

Aim to send in your application at least a few days before the deadline. This way, you avoid the risk of getting sidelined by technical glitches, tests, heavy homework load, or illness. 

And don’t forget to submit everything required of you as part of your application. 

For more tips on how to apply for scholarships, check here.

How to find scholarships

Colleges may offer either merit-based or need-based scholarships or both. You can usually find most of the information by clicking on their “financial aid” page. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email or call their financial aid office.

There are also outside scholarships — like the ones listed below — that are sponsored by companies, organizations, foundations, and individuals as a way to give back to their communities. The awards can cover your entire tuition or a portion of it. Some scholarships have a GPA requirement or are based on financial need, while others embrace a cause or emphasize community involvement, athletic achievement, diversity, passion, and much more. For example, the Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship, which was launched in 2020, is aimed at high school seniors and college undergraduates who identify as female and wish to pursue a STEM-related field of education.

So, how do you find outside scholarships like these?

Start your search with TUN’s Scholarship Search Engine to find scholarships that are ideal for you. You can search by grade level, GPA, major, state of residency, scholarship name, or deadline month. You can also browse through our featured scholarships, some available only through TUN, and a collated list of scholarships for specific groups of students. 

You should also check with your high school or college to see if they have a list of scholarships. Your guidance counselor may have the list or point you to someone who can help you. They may also be in the know about scholarships sponsored by local stores or organizations.

Your family is yet another good source of scholarships. Your parents or guardians may work for a company that offers scholarships for dependents of employees

If you work while in high school or college, you may also qualify for an employee scholarship

For more tips on how to find scholarships, check here.

How to get scholarships

Scholarships, especially ones with high awards, can be very competitive. In some cases, you may be competing against thousands of students. 

So, how do you increase your chances of winning a scholarship?

First, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria and submit all the information required of you, including recommendation letters, transcripts, and resume.

Second, be sure to distinguish yourself from the other applicants. Your essay, if that’s required, is what makes you unique so let your personality and creativity shine through. How do you do that? 

You can achieve that “by showing instead of telling,” according to Sarah Chomette, an eAdviser with the College Advising Corps. 

“When answering a creative prompt or inputting your personal statement, it’s important to provide the reader with a story instead of just telling them about your goals and accomplishments,” she said. “That can be kind of boring and it makes you get lost in the crowd.”

A successful essay must include four major components, Chomette explained. First, make sure that you convey your personal values. Second, be open and honest to help the reader feel a connection with you. Third, let the reader know why your story is important. Fourth, your writing must show that you put time and effort into it. 

If a scholarship asks for a video or infographic instead of an essay, the same principle applies.

To summarize, always put thought and effort into your whole application and submit your best work. There should be no obvious errors or typos. And if you need to submit a recommendation letter, reflect on who knows you best and whose recommendation would help your application the most. 

Should you report outside scholarships to your school?

Any outside scholarship you get is considered an asset and must be reported to the financial aid office of your prospective or current college.

Your college will decide if they want to reduce the scholarship amount from your financial aid, such as need-based grants or loans. 

“Say, for example, the school expects you to take out $5,000 in loans to pay for college but you later receive a $5,000 scholarship from an outside source,” said Chomette. “It’s possible to replace those loans with that scholarship so that you’re not taking out loans, you’re just covering this cost with scholarships instead.”

So, once you get an outside scholarship, contact your school’s financial aid office and inquire about whether your scholarship will impact your current financial aid. 

Are scholarships taxable?

Typically, scholarships are not taxable. However, it can depend on how the scholarship money is being used, according to federal tax laws. 

Scholarship dollars are tax-exempt if they are going to a degree-seeking candidate and are being used to pay for tuition and fees required for enrollment, books, supplies, and other educational expenses. 

Scholarships are not tax-exempt, and you must report them as “gross income,” if they are used to pay for room and board, travel, or optional equipment. 

If you have additional questions, you should reach out to the financial aid office of your prospective or current college or university. 

Here are some of the best scholarships for college.

The WebXd Scholarship

The WebXd Scholarshipo

WebXd is currently accepting applications for its WebXd Scholarship.

The company will award $2,500 to the winner.

To apply, students must write an essay of at least 350 words reflecting on a specific instance where a campaign, website, or social media post resonated with them, inspired them, or challenged them to think differently about a particular subject. 

Application Deadline: April 30, 2024

Award: $2,500

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a high school senior or  high school graduate who will be enrolled, or a current undergraduate or graduate student enrolled, full-time at an accredited U.S. college or university for the 2024-25 academic year
  • Must reside in the United States

Click here to apply for the WebXd Scholarship.

Good Life’s Community Scholarship 

Good LIfe Property Management is currently accepting applications for its Good Life’s Community Scholarship.

The company will award $2,500 to the winner.

To apply, students must write an essay of at least 350 words on any one of five given prompts, all of which are centered around their community. Students can write about what community means to them, the lessons they’ve learned from being part of a community, how their community helped them overcome a challenge, how they discovered community through a team or part-time job they were involved with, or how they have contributed to a community through volunteerism.

Application Deadline: May 1, 2024

Award: $2,500

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a high school senior or high school graduate who will be enrolled, or a current undergraduate or graduate student enrolled, full-time at an accredited U.S. college or university for the 2024-25 academic year
  • Must reside in the United States

Click here to apply for Good Life’s Community Scholarship.

The Lariat STEM Scholar Program

Lariat STEM Scholar Program

The Lariat Future Innovators Foundation is accepting applications for its Lariat STEM Scholar Program.

The foundation will award up to four awards in varying amounts, depending on the education status of the applicant.

To apply, those interested must write an essay of 500 words or more on one of two prompts, answer three short questions, and meet certain conditions, as specified in the application form. 

Application Deadline: June 30, 2024

Award: A total of up to four awards will be granted, with varying amounts as follows:

  • High School Senior: Up to $30,000 as follows:
    • $6,000 for freshman year, renewable annually for three (3) additional years at $6,000 as a sophomore, $8,000 as a junior, and $10,000 as a senior if the student continues to meet eligibility requirements. 
  • College Junior: Up to $18,000 as follows:
    • $8,000 for junior year, renewable for one (1) additional year at $10,000 as a senior if the student continues to meet eligibility requirements
  • College Senior: $10,000

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a college freshman, junior, or senior at the start of the 2024/25 school year
  • Must reside in a rural area (town or city with a population less than 25,000) in the United States and is an eligible zip code as listed on the scholarship application
  • Must come from families with less than $55,000 in household income as shown on their FAFSA form
  • Must be between the ages of 18 and 24 in the school year that their school receives the scholarship funds
  • Must be pursuing a degree in any of the Eligible Stem Majors listed on the application

Click here to apply for the Lariat STEM Scholar Program.

The Ingenovis Health Undergraduate Nursing Student Scholarship

Ingenovis Health Undergraduate Nursing Student Scholarship

Ingenovis Health is now accepting applications for its Ingenovis Health Undergraduate Nursing Student Scholarship.

The company will award five scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each.

To apply, interested students must submit an essay of 300 words or more on why they are pursuing a career in nursing.

Application Deadline: June 30, 2024

Award: $5,000 (5 awards)

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident 
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in an accredited university or college in the United States
  • Must be pursuing an undergraduate degree in nursing (ADN, ASN, LPN-to-ADN, LPN-to-BSN, RN-to-BSN, BSN, or Diploma in Nursing) and be in their final year of study during the 2024-25 academic year

Click here to apply for the Ingenovis Health Undergraduate Nursing Student Scholarship.

The Ingenovis Health Graduate Nursing Student Scholarship

Ingenovis Health Graduate Nursing Student Scholarship

Ingenovis Health is now accepting applications for its Ingenovis Health Graduate Nursing Student Scholarship

The company will award five scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each.

To apply, interested students must submit an essay of 300 words or more on why they are pursuing a career in nursing.

Application Deadline: June 30, 2024

Award: $5,000 (5 awards)

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident 
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time graduate student in an accredited university in the United States
  • Must be pursuing a graduate degree in nursing (MSN or DNP/PhD) and be in their final year of study during the 2024-25 academic year

Click here to apply for the Ingenovis Health Graduate Nursing Student Scholarship.

The Ingenovis Health Veteran Nursing Student Scholarship

Ingenovis Health Veteran Nursing Student Scholarship

Ingenovis Health is now accepting applications for The Ingenovis Health Veteran Nursing Student Scholarship

The company will award five scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each.

To apply, interested students must submit an essay of 300 words or more on why they are pursuing a career in nursing.

Application Deadline: June 30, 2024

Award: $5,000 (5 awards)

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident 
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student in an accredited university or college in the United States
  • Must be pursuing an associate’s degree in nursing (ASN, ADN or AAS), a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN or RN-BSN), or a graduate degree in nursing (MSN or DNP/PhD) and be in their final year of study during the 2024-25 academic year
  • Must be a current student veteran (includes members of the National Guard or Reserve) as proven by Form DD-214, or a student on Active Duty as proven by submission of Active Duty orders and a Memorandum of Understanding from their commanding officer indicating that they are currently in good standing with their unit

Click here to apply for the Ingenovis Health Veteran Nursing Student Scholarship.

The Ingenovis Allied Health Professionals Scholarship

Ingenovis Allied Health Professionals Scholarship

Ingenovis Health is now accepting applications for The Ingenovis Allied Health Professionals Scholarship

The company will award 10 scholarships in the amount of $2,500 each.

To apply, interested students must submit an essay of 300 words or more on why they are pursuing a career in their chosen allied health field.

Application Deadline: June 30, 2024

Award: $2,500 (10 awards)

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident 
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited two- or four-year college or university in the United States for the 2024-25 academic year
  • Must be pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree in one of the specified allied health profession

Click here to apply for the Ingenovis Allied Health Professionals Scholarship.

The Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship

Hyundai Women in STEM 2024

Hyundai is accepting applications for its Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship.

The company will award five scholarships of $10,000 each.

To apply, those interested must write an essay of 500 words or more on how EV tech can help create a more sustainable future. 

Application Deadline: June 30, 2024

Award: $10,000 each (5 awards)

Eligibility: 

  • Must be high school seniors and current undergraduate students in accredited U.S. colleges and universities
  • Must identify as female
  • Must reside in the United States
  • Must wish to pursue a STEM-related field of education

Click here to apply for the Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship.

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