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When students hear they’ve won a scholarship, they’re excited. Someone has recognized a special talent or ability of theirs and is making an expensive college just a little bit more affordable. They think the scholarship will add to any financial aid they get.
Most of the time, they never find out the truth.
Many colleges actually deduct the scholarship you receive from your total financial aid package, meaning you’re no better off now than you were before you received the scholarship. The college simply awarded some of the need-based aid it planned to give you to another student.
You break even; someone else benefits.
Even the organizations who give out these scholarships – who truly believe they’re doing the right thing by helping students in need – don’t know this truth. Colleges aren’t about to advertise that they’re essentially giving funds meant for you to a fellow student.
It’s hard to believe, but your big scholarship didn’t benefit you at all.
Making Scholarships Work for You
A scholarship can be good for you, depending on:
· Who it’s from
· What college you’re attending
· Your family’s financial situation
All you need to do is find the right college for you, one that recognizes your abilities with its own scholarships or that doesn’t deduct scholarships from your need-based aid. Researching colleges to find your perfect fit is the real key to scholarship success.
An easy way to do this is through our college research tools, financial aid handbook, and list of top financial aid colleges. RSC is not a scholarship search service, but we understand the scholarship system and can advise families on how to best proceed in the complex world of financial aid.
Why Grant Money Is Better Than Scholarship Money
Families spend hour after hour searching for scholarships that may not help them. Scholarships are unpredictable, and can be frustrating if you apply but don’t get it, or you’re awarded a thousand dollars by a great local charity only to have a college deduct it from other gift aid you were supposed to receive.
It feels like they’re giving your money to someone else.
Stay focused on grant money. Maximizing your gift aid through high-school accomplishments, accurate financial aid forms, and colleges that reward your efforts keeps you from relying on a stranger’s scholarship.
Don’t roll the dice or spin the wheel. You work hard to pay for college; we work hard to see that your efforts pay off.
Think of it this way: a grant, unlike a scholarship, is money in your pocket, not someone else’s.
Now that should get you excited!
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