Can You Use Scholarship Money for Anything? Tips, Examples, Common Mistakes - Going Merry (2023)

7 October 2022


Categories: Applying for Scholarships

The cost of college has soared over 180% in the past forty years. With tuition, room and board, books, and other education-related expenses, it can feel like expenses are never-ending. Thankfully, there are numerous scholarship programs to help you afford higher education.

If you’ve applied to any of them, you’re probably wondering: Can I use scholarship money for anything? The answer is a bit complicated. But we’re here to help you make sense of it all. It’s worth noting that many awards will be paid directly to your college or university. For the others that come straight to you, check out the tips below to help decipher different scholarship rules.

  • What you can use scholarship money for
  • What you can’t use scholarship money for
  • What happens if I use my scholarship money on something other than my education?
  • What happens to unused scholarship money?
  • Can scholarship money affect my financial aid?
  • 15 Easy scholarships to apply for right now
  • Get scholarships delivered to you with Going Merry

What you can use scholarship money for

Most scholarship funds are specific about which types of costs they can and cannot cover. Education expenses like tuition, books, and other course materials are usually covered, but what counts as “education-related” can differ by provider so be sure to review the rules for each award.


Depending upon your financial aid package, tuition will likely be your greatest expense when it comes to paying for your college education. A majority of scholarships, particularly private scholarships from foundations and government grants, will indicate that scholarship funds must go directly toward tuition.

Many awards that renew for each academic year are designated to cover this expense. And even if your scholarship doesn’t indicate that it must be put toward tuition, it’s smart for most college students to use this money to help reduce the out-of-pocket cost of tuition.

Room and Board

Living expenses vary by college. If your university is in an expensive part of the country, your costs for room and board could be higher. Oftentimes, colleges offer on-campus housing at a subsidized rate.

While not all scholarship programs cover room and board, many do consider this to be a cost of attendance. However, many scholarships make a distinction between on-campus housing and off-campus housing, with a preference for on-campus living.


If you’ve ever spent time in an on-campus bookstore, you’ll realize that textbooks and other course materials can be pricey. But having access to the right supplies is crucial to your ability to learn, and many scholarship providers want to help you pay for the tools you need to succeed.

There are even private scholarships that exist specifically to cover the cost of books. Even more important than paying for those books is putting them to use. Need some tips on how to make studying for that big midterm a breeze? Look no further.


Sitting in a lecture hall trying to scribble notes by hand can make getting that stellar GPA that much harder, which is why most college students prefer using laptops. This is an expense that counts as education-related for some providers but not others. It’s a good idea to double-check the fine print on your private scholarships before you use scholarship money to pay for a computer.


When people talk about “tuition and fees” it can be confusing. Fees can encompass a number of different education-related expenses like enrollment fees, library costs, and printing charges. Many colleges and universities will provide a detailed breakdown of fees if you contact your school’s financial aid office. A lot of scholarship programs cover fees and students with financial aid packages can apply for fee waivers too.


Transportation to and from campus is another cost of attendance that can be a tricky one to decipher. Some awards will cover expenses like bus fare or parking. However, many other scholarship programs consider this to be a personal expense, particularly if your travel is between states or across the country.

Oftentimes parking or on-campus transportation are covered as a part of a university’s fees. If your scholarship award covers fees, those transportation costs would already be covered.

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What you can’t use scholarship money for

Financial assistance via private scholarships is oftentimes need-based and competitive, which is why college students should never abuse the free money that comes along with these awards. It’s important to read the fine print on all forms of financial aid and understand what is and is not covered.

There are a small number of awards that can be used for literally anything. If you think you’ve won one of those scholarships, be sure to check all of the requirements. To be extra certain, reach out to the provider to ask questions before you spend your scholarship money on one of the below types of expenses.

Recreational trips

If you’re dreaming about spending your scholarship funds on a spring break trip, think again. Scholarship money can never be used for personal travel. This might feel like an obvious example, but personal expenses like travel are never covered by scholarship money, whether it’s a spring break getaway or a trip home to see family.

A caveat to this: Education-related trips, like studying abroad or pursuing an out-of-town internship, can be covered by specific scholarships. Add those to your scholarship search if you hope to study abroad in the future.

Car payments

Buying a car to drive to and from campus is an expense that many college students incur. Unfortunately, it’s not one that can be covered by scholarship money. Because your car can be used for so many different things — like travel, recreation, and commuting to work — a car payment is considered a personal expense.

Personal expenses

Twin XL sheets for your new dorm room bed, a microwave to heat up cups of instant ramen, and a puffy coat to handle that long walk across campus in the cold are all examples of personal expenses that are not covered by most scholarship awards. The additional living expenses of on-campus life, like activity fees, clubs, sporting event attendance, and workout classes also fall under this category.

Student loans

Many college students wonder if they can spend scholarship money on student loan repayment. It’s a nice idea, but the answer is no. Award money cannot be used to pay back federal or private student loans. It can be tempting to want to put extra money into your bank account to help pay back those loans, but this is one college expense that is a definite no. Depending upon your financial need, you might qualify for student loan forgiveness on some federal student loans. Check out this handy primer on federal financial aid.


While investing for the future is a noble goal, spending your scholarship money on investments like stocks and bonds is not allowed. Even if you’re planning to pursue a major in finance or economics, this type of spending is not considered an educational expense.

Instead of exploring other ways to invest, college students have the opportunity to invest in themselves through their education. So, aim for a stellar GPA and learn as much as you can. Your future self will thank you for the investment.

What happens if I use my scholarship money on something other than my education?

College scholarships can be a great way to bridge the gap between out-of-pocket money and financial aid awards. However, these funds must be used correctly.

Failing to use scholarship funds for education-related expenses can result in a scholarship provider revoking your award, or forcing you to pay back what you spent. In extreme circumstances, providers could take legal action.

Most students don’t have nefarious intentions, which is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the details of your scholarship award. Luckily, most of the time, scholarship money isn’t deposited directly into your bank account. But when it is, it’s important to double-check the terms of the award before you start spending.

What happens to unused scholarship money?

Receiving too much scholarship money is a rare but possible scenario. If you’ve received scholarship funds that are greater than your cost of tuition and fees, oftentimes your college or university will send you a refund for the leftover money.

Depending upon the terms of your scholarship, you can use these funds for another education-related expense. If you have unused scholarship money, consult your school’s financial aid office, as you will need to pay taxes on these funds as income.

Additionally, if your scholarship dollars outweigh the costs of your tuition, you could reach out to the scholarship committees on each of your awards to discuss your options. Depending upon their regulations, you might be able to use the scholarship funds for other education-related expenses that they don’t usually cover.

Can scholarship money affect my financial aid?

Yes, your scholarship money can affect your financial aid. Most often it doesn’t. But if you’re lucky enough to win a scholarship award, you must report this change to your school’s financial aid office.

Earning scholarship money will affect how your school views your financial needs and could result in changes to your financial aid package. In particular, if the award you’ve received is renewable, your financial aid could change for all four years.

But don’t let this deter you from applying for scholarships. Free money is never a bad thing. Oftentimes, the effect on your financial aid will be a reduction of student loans or work-study programs. It should not result in you needing to pay more money for college.

15 Easy scholarships to apply for right now

Scholarship money can be used to cover a variety of education expenses. For college students looking to supplement their financial aid package, there are so many different types of scholarships available. Some scholarships require many steps to apply, which is why we’ve put together a list of 15 easy scholarships to get you started on the path to earning money for your education.

None of these scholarship programs require letters of recommendation, minimum GPAs, or essays longer than 1000 words. If you’re on the hunt for more scholarships just like these, we’ve found 26 more with simple, no-sweat applications.

1. $100,000 Stand Up for Students Sweepstakes

Amount: $100,000

Provider: Earnest LLC

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Resident of any state except for Massachusetts or Nevada
  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university

Application Requirements: N/A

Earnest is passionate about easing the financial burden of college, which is why they offer accessible, flexible student loans They also offer a variety of private scholarships, including the $100,000 Stand Up for Students Sweepstakes. To be entered to win this valuable award, all you need to do is create a profile on their website. Then, you’ll request an eligibility check and interest rate estimate for student loans. The application takes less than 5 minutes to complete. You do not need to apply for a loan in order to be eligible for the scholarship. Winners for this award will be chosen at random.

2. Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship

Amount: $25,000

Provider: Taco Bell

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college or university
  • Between 16 and 26 years old
  • Not an employee of Taco Bell

Application Requirements: Video essay

One of the most valuable and easiest scholarships on this list, the Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship wants to send you off to college with a $25,000 award. Taco Bell wants to hear about why you believe higher education is important, what you dream about for the future, and how a college degree will help you achieve those goals. Remember, “Live Más” translates to “Live More” in English, so keep that expansive, visionary spirit in mind as you film your video essay.

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3. Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Amount: Up to $5,000

Provider: Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for high school students
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale for college or graduate students
  • Hispanic/Latinx
  • Enrolled or planning to enroll full-time in a college/university

Application Requirements: Transcript, completed FAFSA®

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund exists to make higher education more accessible to Latin American students across the U.S. The fund is open to U.S. citizens as well as students who are legal permanent residents or DACA. The award amount varies based on a student’s financial need. Each year, the fund gives out around 10,000 scholarships to deserving students of Hispanic heritage.

4. Visionary Scholarship

Amount: Up to $5,000

Provider: American College Foundation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university

Application Requirements: Transcript, essay

The American College Foundation is an online reference tool to help high school students prepare for college. They know that paying for higher education is half the battle, which is why they’ve created the Visionary Scholarship.

Through this scholarship program, students can receive up to $5,000 one time during their college career. Applications will be judged based on students’ unofficial high school transcripts and answers to the essay prompt: “Why College is Important to Me” Your essay shouldn’t be longer than 500 words.

5. Residential Design Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Provider: Houzz

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university
  • Ages 17 and older
  • Declared field of study in interior design, architecture, or landscape architecture

Application Requirements: Essay, work sample

A software platform that interior designers, architects, and other design professionals use to complete projects, Houzz is eager to invest in the next generation of design talent. That’s why they created the Residential Design Scholarship.

To enter the competition, you’ll write a 400-word essay about the biggest influences on your interior design style. Another piece of the application is your Houzz profile, which should showcase your portfolio and personal style. This award is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

6. Porch Skilled Trade & Technology Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Provider: Porch

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.4 on a 4.0 scale
  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university
  • 18 years or older
  • Declared field of study in a field related to home building, improvement, or other services offered by Porch

Application Requirements: N/A

Porch is an online portal that connects homeowners looking to remodel their homes with contractors and other skilled laborers. To invest in future leaders in this field, Porch offers the .

To apply, you’ll simply fill out their online questionnaire which asks students to provide their GPA, field of study, and name of their college/university. That’s it. Porch gives out this award four times a year, so you can apply once per cycle. Winners will be selected at random.

7. The Easiest Scholarship Ever

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Going Merry

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university

Application Requirements: N/A

The name says it all on this one — if you want to win The Easiest Scholarship Ever, look no further. Sponsored by Going Merry, a one-stop-shop for all your scholarship needs, this contest requires very little work from you. The application requires no essays or additional forms and it’s open to almost every type of student. All you have to do to apply is sign up for Going Merry and enter the competition on our website.

8. Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Digital Responsibility

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university

Application Requirements: N/A

Digital Responsibility was founded by a group of tech executives to educate young people on how to use technology responsibly. In service of this mission, they created the Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship to advocate for safe driving.

To apply, all you’ll need to do is write a 140-character statement that finishes this sentence: “I pledge to not text and drive because…” The applicants with the most unique responses will be entered into the second round, where they’ll write a 500-1,000-word essay about the dangers of texting and driving.

9. RealtyHop Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: RealtyHop

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled in a college/university

Application Requirements: Essay

RealtyHop is a platform that matches investors with undervalued real estate properties. They’re looking for students who demonstrate ambition and entrepreneurship through their RealtyHop Scholarship.

The application is simple, and some might even say fun. You’ll write a 500-word essay imagining the life of your dreams. Find a listing on RealtyHop and dream about how you’d spend your future living in your favorite room of that property. For some winners, an internship at RealtyHop could even be in your future.

10. Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Gen and Kelly Tanabe Foundation

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university

Application Requirements: Essay

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are bestselling authors who write about education — and they want to help you pursue yours. The Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship is a merit-based award for high school, college, or graduate students. All you’ll need to do is fill out the form on their website and write a 250-word essay about either your future goals or why you deserve to win the scholarship. The funds from this award can be used for any education expense including room and board or fees.

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11. Mattress Advisor’s Sleep Science Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Mattress Advisor

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll full-time in a college/university

Application Requirements: Proof of acceptance/enrollment, essay

It’s no secret that college students need a lot sleep. Between maintaining that GPA, meeting new friends, and determining your major, college requires time to recharge. Mattress Advisor, an online resource that curates mattress reviews and products, wants to help you get better rest and pay for college. To apply for their Mattress Advisor’s Sleep Science Scholarship, you’ll write a short 800 to 1,000-word essay about sleep health and its impact on your education.

12. MyBioSource Inc. Scholarship for Students with Disabilities

Amount: $1,000

Provider: MyBioSource Inc.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university
  • Documented learning disability

Application Requirements: Essay

MyBioSource Inc, a biotechnological product distribution company, is passionate about empowering students with learning disabilities. Each year they sponsor two non-renewable $1,000 awards for undergraduate or graduate students with a documented learning disability.

To apply for the MyBioSource Inc. Scholarship for Students with Disabilities, write a 250-word response answering why you’ve chosen your specific major and why you deserve this scholarship award. If answering the question feels tough, check out this blog post that can help you write your best response.

13. CareerFitter Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: CareerFitter

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 2.4 on a 4.0 scale
  • Enrolled or planning to enroll full-time in a college or university

Application Requirements: Transcript, essay

If you’re not so sure what you want to study in college, or what you want to pursue after graduation, CareerFitter could help. They’ve pioneered a career test alongside psychologists to help you identify a meaningful career to fit your aspirations.

Once you’ve identified your dream job, apply for the CareerFitter Scholarship by writing about why you want to pursue that particular path. Your answer should be no more than 900 characters. Dream big and have some fun thinking about your future.

14. Kopfler & Hermann Overcoming Adversity Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Kopfler & Hermann

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university

Application Requirements: Essay, resume

Kopfler & Hermann is a Louisiana-based law firm, but their is open to students all across the United States. They specialize in personal injury law and want to hear about a time when you’ve faced and overcome hardship. Write an essay of between 500 and 1000 words describing this experience and be entered to win $1,000 to put toward your college education.

15. CarBrain Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: CarBrain

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in a college/university

Application Requirements: Proof of acceptance/enrollment, essay

Do you dream of a future filled with self-driving cars? Or do you prefer to drive an old-fashioned stick shift? CarBrain, a platform for buying and selling automobiles, wants to know what you think is going to happen in the automobile space. With between 500 and 1000 words, answer their essay prompt: “Is self-driving vehicle technology the way of the future? Why or why not?” and you’ll be entered to win the CarBrain Scholarship.

Get scholarships delivered to you with Going Merry

Using your scholarship money shouldn’t have to be difficult. Before you put the funds to use, double-check the details for your scholarship award. If you’re confused by any of the language, reach out to your scholarship provider to find clarity. They want to help you achieve educational success, so don’t be afraid to use them as a resource.

If you’re trying to find ways to add to your financial aid package through private scholarships, consider Going Merry. When you sign up and create a profile, we curate scholarships designed to fit your personal background and strengths. Sign up today to spend less time searching for relevant scholarships, and more time applying to the ones you could win.

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Going Merry is a one-stop shop for scholarships-- allowing students to find and apply for scholarships, right on our platform. It's like the best scholarship search engine, and an efficient scholarship application form, all in one. How does it work? You fill out a profile, get matched to scholarships you're eligible for, and then can filter or favorite scholarships into an application shortlist. Then, when you're ready to apply, our platform auto-fills any information you've already told us, so that you never have to answer the same thing twice. Counselors often call us the "common app for scholarships."

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Can I use my scholarship money on everything? ›

Remember, scholarship money can be used to pay for any education expenses deemed necessary by your school. This could include books, a laptop, lab equipment, housing, and more.

What can I use my scholarship money for? ›

What you can use scholarship money for
  • Tuition. Depending upon your financial aid package, tuition will likely be your greatest expense when it comes to paying for your college education. ...
  • Room and Board. Living expenses vary by college. ...
  • Books. ...
  • Laptops. ...
  • Fees. ...
  • Transportation. ...
  • Recreational trips. ...
  • Car payments.
Oct 7, 2022

What do you say when asking for more scholarship money? ›

Put It in Writing

Ask the school if it can offer more scholarship money to make your attendance more feasible. Applicants should use family circumstances as compelling reasons for the school to reconsider. A substantial income change, medical issues, or childcare expenses could help sway the decision in your favor.

How do you ask for scholarship money examples? ›

Find other ways to say what you're asking for: “Is there any way for you to offer additional assistance?” or, “Are there any additional scholarships available?” will be viewed more kindly than a direct request to match another college's award or “negotiate” a better price.

Can scholarship money be used for food? ›

If you get the funds directly, or indirectly as a tuition refund, you can typically spend the money on education-related expenses like room, board or books. Some groups also approve scholarship spending on living expenses, like dorm room furniture or groceries.

Can you keep scholarship money you don't use? ›

In some cases, you may be allowed to keep the money and put it towards anything you want. However, in most cases, you will likely have to return the money to the provider so that they can add it to a new scholarship fund for other students.

Can scholarship money be used for loans? ›

You Can Sometimes Use Scholarships to Pay Off Student Loans

Sadly, not all scholarships can be used for student loans. Most scholarships are designed to cover your college expenses, mostly tuition, and in some cases, they'll be sent directly to your college, not to you.

What happens if you get a scholarship and don t go to college? ›

Many times if the student has not enrolled in classes during those 12 months, it expires. In almost all cases, scholarships are put directly towards your college's tuition and expenses, rather than a check sent to you. If you choose not to go to school, it will not be put in a savings account for later use.

Is it OK to ask for more scholarship money? ›

Answer: Yes, you can absolutely ask a college for more merit aid. In fact, many of your peers will do so. And since this type of aid is given on a first-come, first-served basis, you will want to submit your request as soon as possible.

What is a good amount of scholarship money? ›

The average scholarship amount is $5,000 to $10,000 annually. These scholarships are typically available through the college you are planning on attending. Community partners and professional organizations offer them as well.

How much scholarship money do people usually get? ›

The average institutional scholarship award is $6,335.

How do you say I deserve a scholarship? ›

Here are tips for writing a “why I'm deserving scholarship” essay:
  1. Explain how the scholarship money would contribute to your long-term goals. ...
  2. Focus on the purpose of the scholarship. ...
  3. Don't be afraid to promote yourself. ...
  4. Use a thesis statement, just like you would with any other essay.
Aug 3, 2022

How do you describe financial situation for scholarship? ›

Body: Your financial situation and hardships

Make sure you describe your parents' occupation, any savings (like a 529 College Savings Account), and any student jobs. You might also discuss any sudden changes in fortune (e.g. parent fell ill or lost their job) that have ruined your original financial plans.

How do you explain why you need financial aid? ›

Discuss any unanticipated expenses in your life or family. Specifically, detail any significant shortfalls in your family's income. Explain what your parents or guardians do for a living. If your other siblings are in school too, account for this fact clearly.

Why do I deserve a scholarship sample? ›

I have faced several challenges over the years, from dyslexia to homelessness; yet I continued to earn exemplary grades and graduate at the top of my class. I deserve this scholarship because I have the strength and determination to achieve my goals, no matter what hurdles I have to overcome.

What happens if you use scholarship money for something else? ›

Rather, they will send it straight to your college or university to cover the tuition bill. It's important to keep in mind that when you use your scholarship money for anything, it could have an impact on financial aid. Any scholarship money that is won has to be reported to the school.

Can you use fellowship money for anything? ›

These fellowships for graduate students subsidize costs related to their graduate school experience, like tuition. Fellowships may also include a cost-of-living stipend and health insurance, and sometimes cover expenses related to professional development, such as fees for academic conferences.

How do you introduce yourself in a scholarship? ›

When introducing yourself in a scholarship essay, start by introducing yourself and your educational status. Then, discuss how the scholarship will help your educational pursuits and how your education can help your career.

What are two things you should never do when applying for a scholarship? ›

Here are seven mistakes to avoid when searching for and filling out scholarship applications.
  1. Starting Research Too Late. ...
  2. Missing Deadlines. ...
  3. Filling Out a Scam Application. ...
  4. Ignoring Scholarship Requirements. ...
  5. Bypassing Smaller Scholarships. ...
  6. Leaving an Application Incomplete. ...
  7. Making Errors on an Application.
Feb 21, 2023

What info should you never provide for a scholarship? ›

Students should never give out personal details or banking information when applying for a scholarship. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Warning Signs To Be Aware Of: Promises for a Low-interest Student Loan for a Fee.

How long can you keep scholarship money? ›

Most scholarship prizes can only fund college tuition for one year, and expire after that use. For example, if you receive a scholarship that covers all your finances for your freshman year of college there is no guarantee that it will be rewarded for your consecutive years as well.

Can you invest scholarship money? ›

Students who want to invest scholarships with the least amount of risk of legal action should stay away from government-sponsored scholarships. Investing the entire amount of repaid scholarships is also a dangerous option, so more cautious investors stick to the excess funds set aside for living expenses.

Is a scholarship a student loan? ›

Loans are the more commonly-used type of financial assistance. The difference between loans and a grant or scholarship is that they're not “free” and need to be repaid, with interest. However, they often have fewer requirements to qualify and are in greater supply, so they're accessible to a broader range of people.

How can I get my student loans paid off for free? ›

4 Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
  1. Income-Driven Repayment Forgiveness. Income-driven repayment (IDR) plan forgiveness is a good option if you cannot afford your payments under a 10-year standard repayment plan. ...
  2. Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge. ...
  3. Public Service Loan Forgiveness. ...
  4. Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
Sep 27, 2022

Do I have to pay back scholarship if I fail? ›

Do you have to pay back a scholarship if you lose it? Usually, the answer is no. Scholarships are a form of nonrepayable gift aid, much like many federal grants. Student loans, unlike grants and scholarships, are borrowed money that must be paid back with interest.

Can a scholarship be taken away from you? ›

Scholarships either have specific or vague stipulations about the discipline, behaviour, or general social media presence of their students. As in, if they don't like how you're behaving on campus or how you're presenting yourself on social media, they can take your money away.

What GPA do I have to keep to not lose my scholarship? ›

Keep Your Grades Up

One of the first rules you're likely to see on a conditional scholarship is a minimum GPA, such as a 3.0 or higher. It's vital to stay on top of your studies and ensure your grades are satisfactory.

Is there a limit on how many scholarships you can get? ›

College scholarships are free money that you don't need to pay back. There's no limit to the amount of scholarships you can apply for—so submit as many applications as you can.

Can you convince a college to give you more money? ›

Yes, financial aid is negotiable. “There is very little downside to asking, so you might as well make the request,” says Shannon Vasconcelos, a college finance educator at College Coach. She estimates that negotiations are successful in about half of the cases she's seen, so it's worthwhile to put the effort in.

Can I get a scholarship if my parents make too much money? ›

Even if your family isn't experiencing financial hardship, you can explore other ways to find money for college, such as merit-based awards. Private scholarships and even state grants might be available based on your academic achievements, regardless of your family's income.

How much scholarship do most students get? ›

For each full-time enrollee, the average amount of scholarship money per student is $10,050, while a qualified full-time graduate student receives $8,860 (Ma & Pender, 2021).

Who is most likely to get a scholarship? ›

Over 33% of private scholarships are provided to STEM students. The chances of a white student getting a scholarship are 14.2%, while the odds for minority students are 11.2%. What is this? The odds of a Black student winning a scholarship is 11.4%, 9.1% for Hispanic students, and 10.5% for Asian students.

What GPA do you need for scholarship? ›

Some scholarship committees only consider applicants whose GPA meets a certain threshold. Minimum requirements range from around 2.0 on the lower end to 3.75 or higher for competitive academic scholarships. Generally speaking, a 3.0 GPA or higher will give you a decent shot at qualifying for a variety of scholarships.

How much scholarship money goes unclaimed? ›

However, the act of leaving of financial aid money on the table is still happening! Similarly, the National Scholarship Providers Association reported that an estimated $100 million in scholarships go unused each year as well because of a lack of applicants, according to Forbes.

How many dollars in scholarships is given each year? ›

Each year, more than 1.7 million private scholarships and fellowships are awarded, with a total value of more than $7.4 billion.

What are the three types of money you should use when paying for college? ›

Grants, work-study, loans, and scholarships help make college or career school affordable.

What do you say to win a scholarship? ›

Talk about your Passion and Persistence

Letting your passion show through in your answer allows the committee to see your dedication. You deserve this scholarship based on your love of learning, your enjoyment of your field, or your passion for growth.

What is a famous quote about scholarship? ›

Human beings have a respect for scholarship and learning greatly out of proportion to the use they commonly serve” by Henry David Thoreau.

What do you write to win a scholarship? ›

Writing Your Scholarship Application Essay
  1. Plan ahead. Don't procrastinate! ...
  2. Talk about your accomplishments. Be clear and to the point. ...
  3. State your need. What is your financial situation? ...
  4. Keep it simple. Don't use unnecessary words (i.e., don't use three words when one will do) ...
  5. Make it easy on your reader.

What is an example of a supporting statement for a scholarship? ›

I am a student, a leader, a tutor and a future employer. I am currently pursuing my undergraduate degree in Computer Science at XYZ State College. I maintain a 4.0 GPA and am an active member of several student organizations on campus including the Coding Club and the local Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer team.

How would this scholarship help you examples? ›

I am planning to work during my undergraduate degree, but I do wish to focus a lot of my time on my studies. This scholarship will help by lowering the costs of college and the amount of hours I'll need to work throughout my studies. This way, I'll be able to continue with my academic achievements.

How do I write a financial hardship letter for a scholarship? ›

Tips for Writing a Hardship Letter
  1. Keep it original. ...
  2. Be honest. ...
  3. Keep it concise. ...
  4. Don't cast blame or shirk responsibility. ...
  5. Don't use jargon or fancy words. ...
  6. Keep your objectives in mind. ...
  7. Provide the creditor an action plan. ...
  8. Talk to a Financial Coach.

What is an example of a financial need statement? ›

My family has made many sacrifices to allow me to focus on education throughout primary and secondary school. I now have an opportunity to become the first person in my family to attend college, though I'm in need of financial assistance to realize what has been a long-term goal for me and a dream for my parents.

How do I write a motivation letter for financial assistance? ›

Your letter must have a personal, engaging and interesting tone, and you must sound sincere and genuine. At the same time, you need to sell yourself and talk about your personal achievements. Be completely honest about your financial situation, why you need the bursary and what your goals and aspirations are.

How do you write a 500 word scholarship essay? ›

The format of a 500-word scholarship essay is similar to a shorter essay. Each paragraph is about 75-125 words, and it consists of 3-5 well-written sentences. If you are writing a story or personal anecdote, the formatting can be more like a novel than a news article. It is ok to use 10% less or more words.

How do you start a scholarship essay? ›

The best choice is to write an attention-grabbing sentence. It should be something persuading or intriguing that will make a person continue reading your essay with great interest. Avoid long explanations or introductions. Instead, this sentence should be short and clear.

What does this scholarship mean to you essay examples? ›

This scholarship means more to me than just obtaining money; it also means that I am viewed as having potential for the future of our society. I will continuously have individuals to thank for my accomplishments, and I greatly appreciate the generous financial support I have been given to pursue my education.

Can scholarship money only be used for college? ›

Tuition. In most cases, even scholarship money that is sent directly to you can only be spent on tuition. And even if the award program gives you an option on what to spend it on, tuition may be your best bet. It will help you cut down on debt, interest, and the cost of college in general.

Does scholarship money go to you? ›

That depends on the scholarship. The money might go directly to your college, where it will be applied to any tuition, fees, or other amounts you owe, and then any leftover funds given to you. Or it might be sent directly to you in a check.

Can you stack scholarship money? ›

Unfortunately, you cannot always add outside scholarships on top of other merit money or financial aid money. There are some schools that reduce your aid awards by the amount of outside scholarships you have received.

Can you use scholarships to pay off loans? ›

Yes, there are many different grants to pay off student loans available, and most grants can be used towards both private and federal loans. While some scholarships and grants are only available to current students with tuition bills, there is plenty of grant money set aside for students and graduates with loan debt.

How do you manage scholarship money? ›

Here are seven best practices for managing scholarship funds with ease:
  1. Find the money first.
  2. Make your scholarship eligibility criteria clear beforehand.
  3. Ensure that the application form is easy to submit.
  4. Don't be shy about advertising.
  5. Evaluate the submissions (Selecting winners).
  6. Award the scholarship.

Why do scholarships give you money? ›

Scholarships provide financial support for students to help pay for a college degree. These funds enable students to obtain education they may not have access to otherwise. Scholarships go further than being financial aid for many students. They reward deserving students with the ability to afford higher education.

How do you know if you won a scholarship? ›

How scholarship review processes work. Scholarship providers usually only start reviewing applications once the deadline passes. They then usually choose a winner within 3 months of the deadline. If you've won, they'll contact you by phone or email, and explain to you how you'll receive your scholarship prize money.

What information should you never give out when applying for a scholarship? ›

Students should never give out personal details or banking information when applying for a scholarship. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Warning Signs To Be Aware Of: Promises for a Low-interest Student Loan for a Fee.

Can you keep extra fafsa money? ›

Any money left over is paid to you directly for other education expenses. If you get your loan money, but then you realize that you don't need the money after all, you may cancel all or part of your loan within 120 days of receiving it and no interest or fees will be charged.

How much scholarship money goes unused? ›

However, the act of leaving of financial aid money on the table is still happening! Similarly, the National Scholarship Providers Association reported that an estimated $100 million in scholarships go unused each year as well because of a lack of applicants, according to Forbes.


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