How to Find Scholarships for College

Black female student wearing gold sweater researches college scholarships

The cost of college tuition has risen considerably over the past decade. Scholarships help students pay for college and, unlike a loan, do not need to be repaid. Various scholarships are offered by institutions such as schools, employers, communities and nonprofit organizations.

Types of Scholarships

The nature of scholarships can vary significantly. They can be based on merit, financial need, background or other factors. In the case of merit, many scholarships focus on academic achievements such as grades, GPA or standardized test scores — but you can also get a scholarship for your excellence in athletics, commitment to community service, musical talent or even your writing ability.

Other types of scholarships put less emphasis on achievement and more attention on helping underrepresented groups.

“Some scholarships are awarded based on students’ backgrounds,” Farran Powell and Emma Kerr write for U.S. News. “The Gates Scholarship, for example, offers several awards annually to bachelor’s degree-seeking students who are Pell-eligible and from a minority group, which includes those who are African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American.”

You may also find scholarships geared toward women, graduate students, military families or even scholarships granted by your parents’ workplace.

Related: From College to Future: 3 Steps to Financial Literacy for Young Adults >>

Where to Find Scholarships

There are many ways to find scholarships and many places to look for them, but be on the lookout for scams. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid says to “make sure scholarship information and offers you receive are legitimate; and remember that you don’t have to pay to find scholarships or other financial aid.”

Recommended and free sources of scholarship information include:

  • • Your high school counselor
  • • The financial aid office at a college or career school
  • • Federal agencies
  • • State of Ohio
  • • Foundations
  • • Private companies
  • • Civic groups
  • • Professional societies
  • • Your library’s reference section

Database search websites can help you find local and national scholarships. These often allow you to create a student profile and match with potential opportunities.

How to Apply for Scholarships

Every scholarship has its own application process and eligibility requirements. “Make sure you read the application carefully, fill it out completely and meet the application deadline,” says the office of Federal Student Aid.

One of the best places to start is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. Powell and Kerr say that even if a family thinks it won’t qualify for aid, they should still apply because “some scholarship applications require a submitted FAFSA for eligibility.”

To give yourself the best chance to be awarded a scholarship, make sure to review the application requirements carefully. Some organizations have strict requirements down to the font used in your essay. Additionally, deadlines are typically inflexible. It’s recommended to complete and submit applications as early as possible, especially as some scholarships may run out of money later in the year.

Even if you have been awarded one or more scholarships, you may still be eligible for further financial aid to help pay the remaining college expenses. Make sure to get in touch with your financial aid office to answer any questions you may have about scholarships and paying for college.

Related: 5 Tips to Avoid Getting Trapped in College Loan Debt >>

Scholarships at Minster Bank

Here at Minster Bank, we are proud to give back to the community that supports us. One of the ways we do so is by awarding annual scholarships to local students. Recipients are chosen by their schools and must meet these requirements:

  • A graduating senior with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Planning a two- or four-year degree with a major in business at an accredited community, private or public university
  • Has never received a suspension from high school, which would negate eligibility for the scholarship

We recently announced the Class of 2021 recipients of the Minster Bank scholarship. Click below to read more about this year’s winners.

Meet the Class of 2021 Minster Bank Scholarship Recipients


Published by Minster Bank

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