How to Get Money for College Through Grants and Scholarships

According to some research, 66% of parents and students reported high levels of stress about paying for college. Luckily, if you're one of these families, there are plenty of grants and scholarships available to help you pay for college.

Continue reading to learn about some available scholarships and grants and how to apply.

College Scholarships

Scholarships are a great way to help you earn some money for college because there are so many out there. Plus, the scholarship awards range from a couple hundred dollars to paying for your entire tuition.

While the larger amounts are less common, there are plenty of ways to find scholarships that you qualify for.

Who Qualifies for College Scholarships?

Unfortunately, many students don't think they'll qualify for college scholarships because they weren't valedictorian or a star athlete.

However, that's simply not the case.

There are plenty of available scholarships that offer free money for college based on a number of different characteristics, such as those listed above. That means that anyone can qualify for a college scholarship, even you.

All it takes is doing some initial research to find out which scholarships you qualify for and submitting the application requirements, which usually includes an essay or writing sample.

How to Find College Scholarships

Finding scholarships, and learning how to apply, used to be a challenge as you'd have to flip through worn out and dated books at the library.

Now, there are plenty of resources online that are updated in real-time and allow you to find the perfect scholarship for you.

One way is to use Unigo.com, a college scholarship database, which is the premier network for current and future college students as they figure out how to pay for college.

Other ways of find scholarships include:

  • High school guidance counselor
  • College financial aid office
  • College guidance counselor
  • Federal agencies
  • Public library
  • Foundations, religious or community organizations, or civic groups
  • Ethnicity-based organizations
  • Professional organizations related to your field of interest
  • Your employer (or your parents employers)
  • Local organizations and clubs

Available Scholarships for College

Check out some of the scholarships below and click on any to apply before the deadline.

Unigo $10K Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: December

The entry to this scholarship includes answering the question: If a historical figure was back to life in the present day, who is and what is their favorite app?

I Have a Dream Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: January

Dreams can have a power impact on our lives, as well as reveal your subconscious thoughts. Here's your chance to earn a scholarship for sharing them.

Sweet and Simple Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: February

The Sweet and Simple Scholarship Committee wants to hear about a sweet and simple gift you received that had a big impact.

Superpower Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: March

We've all thought about what superpower we'd like to have. Now, those thoughts may help you earn a scholarship!

All About Education Scholarship

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: April

It's often been said that education is the key to success;. What doors could earning a degree open for you?

Fifth Month Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: May

What's so special about the number five? Now's your chance to potentially earn some money to help pay for college by sharing what you think makes five stand out.

Do-Over Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: June

What if you had a chance to do-over a moment in your life? What would it be and how would the change impact your future?

Flavor of the Month Scholarship

Amount:  $1,500

Deadline: July

July is National Ice Cream Month, so it only makes sense to ask: if you were to be an ice cream flavor, which would it be and why?

Make Me Laugh $1,500 Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: August 

The Make Me Laugh Scholarship is a great way show how funny you are.

Shout It Out Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: September

Whether it's a message to the world or a simple greeting, this scholarship gives you the platform you're looking for.

Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: October

If you've ever envisioned a zombie apocalypse and how you would survive, here's your chance to share it with the world.

Education Matters Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: November

Have you come across those who told you not to pursue your degree? How did you respond? Why does education matter to you?

Top Ten List Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: December

The Top Ten List Scholarship thinks you're amazing and they want to hear the top ten reasons.

Tip for Applying to Scholarships

When writing an essay for a scholarship, always:

  • Keep in mind your audience
  • Apply as early as possible
  • Follow instructions
  • Double check your spelling and grammar

Difference Between Scholarships and Grants

Unlike some of the other types of financial aid, both grants and scholarships don't need to be repaid, which makes them some of the most sought after ways of paying for college for both undergraduate and graduate students.

However, there are some differences between these two. For instance, many scholarships are merit based, which means that they are awarded to students who have achieved certain goals or have certain qualities. For example, there are scholarships awarded based on:

  • Where you live
  • Race or religion
  • Academic or athletic record
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Essay competition

On the other hand, grants are usually awarded as need-based. However, many schools offer both need-based and merit-based grants to students.

On the other hand, most of the federal grants are need-based and for those students who meet certain criteria.

Difference Between Grants and College Scholarships

BenefitCollege ScholarshipCollege Grants

Offered By

State Government, Institutions, Private Sources

Federal Government, State Government, Institutions

How Winners Are Decided

Merit-based

Financial need-based (some exceptions)

Amount Awarded

Varies

Varies

Have to Repay?

No

No

 

Grants for College

Grants work a little bit differently than scholarships, though they can be beneficial because you don't have to repay them either. So, just like scholarships, they're free money for college.

However, often these are based on financial-need, though as mentioned, many colleges and universities also offer grants through the institution that are merit-based or a combination of merit-based and need-based.

There are two types of grants for college:

  1. Federal Grants
  2. Institutional Grants

As every school has unique grants, the list would be entirely too long to publish here. So, contact your financial aid office.

Federal Grants

As most federal grants are awarded to students with financial need, they use the FAFSA to determine what amount of need you qualify for, just like the different types of federal student loans. Keep in mind that you need to complete the FAFSA every year to update the information.

Types of Federal Grants

There are four types of federal grants, each with slightly different requirements. Be sure to check the specific requirements to see if you qualify.

1. Federal Pell Grants

Usually, these grants are only awarded to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor's or professional degree.

2. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The FSEOG program is administered directly by the financial aid office at participating schools and not all schools participate. Check with your school's financial aid office to find out if your school participates.

Similar to the Pell grants, FSEOGs are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need and the school's financial aid office will award the grant to students with the most financial need.

3. Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH)

These grants are different than others because they require you to take certain kinds of classes in order to get the grant and then do a certain kind of job to keep them from turning into a loan.

Awarded to undergraduate teaching students, you are required to teach for a minimum of four years at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families.

If this service obligation is not met, the grant is converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

4. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is only available to those whose parent or guardian served in the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.

In addition, you need to have been under 24 years old or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time parent's or guardian's death.

Find Grants and Scholarships to Help You Earn Free Money for College

Check out some of the scholarships and grants on this page to learn if you qualify. Then, follow any of the links or check with your financial aid office to learn how to apply.

Check out some college degree programs to find the perfect match for you.