- 1Before you start looking for scholarships, know how much money you need
- 2How do I know how much money I will need?
- 3Keep an eye out for loans
- 4Sample financial aid award letter
- 5Scholarship Lists
- 6Colleges/Programs to Look Into
- 7Regional Scholarships/Programs
- 8Scholarships/Programs for Specific Student Characteristics
Yleana has lots of resources available to help you think about and apply to scholarships. We know it can be overwhelming to sort through all of the informations and scholarship lists online, so we have put together spreadsheets with scholarships, colleges, and college programs that have a proven track record of helping students like Yleana’s.
Before you start looking for scholarships, know how much money you need
Often, students think they should only apply for the scholarships that give out the most money. But you should always take into account the amount of money you will get from financial aid as you look for scholarships.
For example, if you get enough financial aid to cover tuition, you don’t need to find scholarships that cover tuition. If you have an EFC of $4,000, you don’t need to find scholarships that cover $10,000.
Also, you do not need to find a single scholarship that covers your entire EFC. If you have an EFC of $4,000, you can make that up with four $1,000 scholarships.
How do I know how much money I will need?
Great question! You can use the FAFSA4caster to estimate how much money you will receive from the FAFSA.
For a more specific estimate, you can find net price calculators for most colleges. The easiest way to find a net price calculator for a specific college is to google the name of that school and the phrase “net price calculator.” Like the FAFSA4caster, net price calculators estimate your financial aid award. They are more specific than the FAFSA4caster, though, and estimate the aid you will receive from that specific school.
Keep an eye out for loans
Some schools include loans as part of your financial aid award package. If you don’t read the award letter closely, it can be easy to think that you are getting more free money than you actually are (see the sample financial aid award letter below). DON”T GET TRICKED!
Remember that loans are not free money – you will need to pay them back. If you don’t want to take out loans, you can find additional scholarships that cover that loan amount.
If you get loans as part of a financial aid award, you do not have to accept them.
Sample financial aid award letter
Here’s a sample financial aid award letter:
The net price is the amount the student and their family are responsible for paying each year. You can calculate the net price by subtracting the total financial aid award from the total estimated cost of attendance.
Total estimated cost of attendance – total financial aid = net price
Using the example above, the student’s net price is:
$55,000 – $34,100 = $20,900
HOWEVER: The financial aid award includes 3 types of loans:
- Federal Perkins Loan: $2,500
- Federal Stafford Loan (subsidized): $3,500
- Federal Stafford Loan (unsubsidized): $2,000
The total amount of these loans (per year) is:
$2,500 + $3,500 + $2,000 = $8,000
If the student doesn’t want to take out any of these loans, they should look into scholarships that will cover this amount. So the total amount that the student is looking for in scholarships is:
$20,900 + $8,000 = $28,900
Colleges/Programs to Look Into
- ScholarMatcher is an online college search tool designed to help low-income students find schools that will work for them. You can browse colleges or take a quiz to be matched with schools that have a track record of helping low-income students succeed.