When it comes to education, every parent wants the best for their children. However, many families won’t be able to afford Ivy-League educations and the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars of debt that accompany degrees from accredited institutions. Unfortunately, the astronomical cost of a college education can financially devastate the average American family before their child even receives their bachelor’s degree.
Luckily, the availability of various scholarship programs makes it possible for low-income students to receive the education they need to qualify for well-paying jobs. As the cost of a college education skyrockets, parents need to be creative and find ways to pay for the university-related expenses (on-campus living, meal plans, textbooks, etc.) without sinking into debilitating debt.
If you’re a parent looking for ways to help your child pay for school with scholarships, keep reading. As an additional resource, there are user-friendly platforms like CollegeData that can help you check and compare the available scholarships to choose the most suitable option for your child.
School-sponsored scholarships and tuition waivers
There are several types of scholarships your child can utilize to cover college expenses. School-sponsored scholarships and tuition waivers are among the most common types. School-sponsored scholarships are financial awards provided to students by their university-of-choice.
Note that the application and qualification requirements will vary from school to school. In some cases, colleges offer tuition waiver upon admission. When the university provides a student with a waiver, it’s the student’s responsibility to maintain eligibility based on a specific award.
Your child can also apply for merit-based scholarships. Typically, a merit-based scholarship is an award offered to students based on their academic qualifications. Besides GPA, merit-based scholarships also account for other factors such as extracurricular activities, ACT and SAT scores, school/community involvement, and leadership roles. With this in mind, having good high school grades and other related qualifications can increase a student’s odds of earning a prestigious scholarship.
Generally speaking, a merit-based scholarship will significantly lower tuition fees. In other cases, these scholarships can completely cover the entire four-years worth of college fees. Depending on student performance, these awards can cover tuition expenses for multiple years.
More often than not, universities and colleges will offer these merit-based awards. However, several companies, foundations, and organizations also provide this financial aid. By definition, merit-based scholarships help bridge the gap for those students who don’t qualify for the need-based program or can’t pay out-of-pocket for school tuition.
Trait-based scholarships are financial awards offered based on particular attributes. There are many categories of trait-based awards, including a class of scholarships designed for women. Trait-based scholarships provide minority groups, such as women, with equal education opportunities as men. Because men have dominated the graduating classes of universities and colleges for centuries, these women-specific awards encourage female enrollment to correct this under representation.
Similarly, scholarships for specific races and nationalities are a type of trait-based award created for students that identify with a particular race or minority group. If a student belongs to a particular ethnicity or minority group, they can benefit tremendously from these awards.
To diversify student populations, universities widely offer these awards for enrolled students. Trait-based scholarships even provide financial aid to students with red hair. So if your child has red hair, they can go ahead and apply for these awards.
Career-based scholarships award students who are interested in specific careers with financial compensation. They are specifically designed for students who have already declared a major or are returning to college to change career paths. Qualifying students must have a clear picture of what they want to pursue.
Some of the leading career-based scholarships are sponsored by the healthcare industry and teaching field. These awards help students specialize and expand their knowledge in their chosen career field.
In most cases, state governments award these career-based scholarships. Almost all state governments have established scholarship incentives, such as forgiveness programs and loan repayment plans.
Essay contests are usually organized by companies and foundations to motivate recently-graduated high school students to showcase their skills. If your child has a talent for essay writing, this form of scholarship can be an ideal route.
Typically, these large corporations and nonprofits host regular essay contests for students in need of financial assistance. Besides granting students the opportunity to win some money, essay contest scholarships also help hone their skills.
Local scholarships are financial aid offered to students located in a particular area. These scholarship opportunities are a fantastic way to cover your child’s school tuition expenses, as these providers reside in the same community.
The best way to know if these awards are available in your community is to conduct a simple internet search to see if your local government or charity groups offer them to aspiring college students. You can also check on the local groups and business pages for posted advertisements.
Fortunately, the number of students who qualify for local scholarships is limited due to location restrictions, so the likelihood of winning is high.
Don’t let looming student debt limit the opportunities available to your child. Encourage your aspiring college student to earn a bachelor’s degree and achieve their long-term career goals by researching the scholarship options above.