College scholarships come in many sizes
and in hundreds of different categories. Meanwhile, finding the
right scholarship requires as much "insider" know-how
as picking the right stock.
Scholarships come in different packages. Start by selecting a
college that prizes academic excellence as much as you do.
Not all scholarships come in the form of outright grants. Many
scholarship programs include discounted tuition that comes as
part of a "preferential package" from colleges seeking
to shape their entering class with top students. The number of
ďtrustee" or "president's scholarships" offer a
sign of how strongly the alumni feel about the school. A
well-heeled school, financially speaking, suggests that its
graduates think they were well rewarded in their careers --
probably by some of the schoolís alumni. It's nice to get
confirmation that your choice of school translates to a head
start on your future.
Many schools do not offer aid packages to
cover all of a studentís recognized financial needs. The
difference between a studentís need and the schoolís award
is called the "gap," which can be as much as 35% below
the estimated need. For some schools the "gap" is
narrowed if the student has achieved high academic or other
Colleges also offer specific scholarships
for special achievements and general excellence. Twenty percent
of these types of grants come from the coffers of the individual
colleges and universities.
Most states have special education
programs for the disabled. Ask the college financial aid
officer, or write to your state's division of vocational
The federal government and the military
also offer some scholarships based on merit.
"Peterson's Scholarship, Grants and
Prizes 2010," does a credible job of providing guidance on
Check with your employer and with all the
organizations you belong to to see if small grants or awards are
available. Many companies also give merit awards to students
entering particular fields.