The cost of a college education continues to rise. The College Board says the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2015-16 school year was $32,405 at private colleges, $9,410 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,893 for out-of-state residents attending public universities. In 2013 and 2014, the average cost of a year’s tuition at a Canadian university was $5,772.
The high cost of education compels many students to find ways to finance their education. For many, that means exploring available scholarships.
Scholarships come in different forms and are usually offered to students as a gift to be put toward college or university costs. Some schools offer scholarships, while other scholarships are sponsored by outside organizations.
Students who meet certain requirements may be eligible for scholarships. While academic or athletic skills are the first criteria associated with scholarships, they are not the only avenues by which students can pursue scholarships.
Scholarships may be offered to students of certain ethnic groups; children of employees at particular companies; or to students who live in particular states. Local branches of organizations like the Rotary Club or Kiwanis also may give out scholarships.
To improve the odds of getting a scholarship, consider the following tips:
• Get involved with the community. Many scholarship sponsors seek individuals who are committed to volunteerism. Plus, volunteering for various groups puts students in the path of information about scholarships from these organizations.
• Use scholarship search engines. Those who search for scholarship sponsors should find plenty of results if they peruse scholarship search engines such as Scholarships.com, CollegeBoard.com and FastWeb.com.
• Use networking contacts. Students should ask anyone they know if they are aware of any scholarship opportunities. Students who develop a rapport with guidance counselors or the financial aid department at their prospective colleges or universities may learn about scholarship opportunities that are not highly publicized. These people may have the inside track on scholarship information.
• Apply for all available scholarships. Now is not the time for students to become lazy. Students should apply for as any scholarships for which they meet the eligibility requirements.
Scholarships can help students offset the rising costs of a college education. Those who are willing to put in the research, time and effort to apply may find a wealth of scholarship opportunities at their disposal.