Paying For College - Head Matters


5. Financial Aid Overview

b. Types of financial aid – Gift aid

This is the best type of financial aid because Gift aid is free money that students do not pay back. Gift aid includes scholarships and grants and is awarded based on merit, financial need and/or unique attributes, such as being the first one in your family to go to college.

Awarded for a variety of reasons, scholarships do not need to be repaid. Scholarships are offered by a seemingly infinite number of sources.

Most scholarships require that you fill out an application and prepare an essay. Some may also require you to complete the FAFSA. The more you apply, the better your chances of getting a scholarship.

Places to look for scholarships:

  • High school counseling office
  • Your chosen college
  • Where you or your parents work
  • Community organizations, like Rotary clubs or foundations  
  • Library
  • Online - offers an easy-to-use search tool with links to other resources such as Fastweb and Finaid


Scholarship search tips 
  1. Start searching for scholarships early. Keep a folder or list of scholarships for which you think you might wan to apply.
  2. Start your scholarship search locally in your neighborhood and expand from there. Typically, there’s less competition for local scholarships.
  3. Make sure that you've met all of the criteria for the scholarship and proofread your applications – a sloppy or incomplete application could disqualify you.
  4. Be sure to NEVER pay for a scholarship search!
  5. Don’t give up! Apply for numerous scholarships to increase your chance of success. Remember, the more you apply for, the more likely you are to receive one or more.

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Paying For College

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