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Grants and Scholarships

What is the difference between Grants and Scholarships?

Grants and scholarships are both both "Gift Aid", meaning money that does not have to be repaid. Grants are usually primarily based on financial need, while scholarships are usually based, or based somewhat upon merit.  Scholarships may require the student to meet certain requirements, both before and after, the scholarship is obtained. Most scholarships require the student to maintain a minimum GPA, and the student usually has to maintain a certain number of credit hours.Most colleges have different academic scholarship deadlines. it is important that you contact the college you are interested in to find out their scholarship deadline.

Applying For Grants

In order to qualify your must file out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually. The most common federal grant is the Federal Pell Grant. This grant is provided to students in need of financial assistance for college. The amount you receive each year may change depending on federal budget restrictions, your family's expected cost contribution, and your student status in college.

Applying For Scholarships

Be aware of scholarship scams.  Although most companies are legitimate, there are those companies that cheat families out of money. These companies seem legitimate and they may even advertise in campus newspapers, flyers, mail, provide toll-free phone numbers and they may even have websites. The FTC has developed a program to confront these fraudulent activities. It is important to remember that a scholarship search service cannot guarantee that a student will receive a scholarship.
Scholarship Seach Websites

Students may apply for scholarships in their 11th or 12th grade year. It is important to begin researching early to become familiar with what scholarships are available.

NOTICE: The FTC warns you to be alert for these six warning signs of scam.

1. "This scholarship is guaranteed or your money back." No service can guarantee that it will get you a grant or scholarship. Refund guarantees often have impossible conditions attached. Review a service’s refund policies in writing before you pay a fee.
2. "The scholarship service will do all the work." Unfortunately, nobody else can fill out the personal information forms, write the essays, and supply the references that many scholarships may require.
3. "The scholarship will cost some money." Be wary of any charges related to scholarship information services or individual scholarship applications, especially in significant amounts. Before you send money to apply for a scholarship, investigate the sponsor.
4. "You can’t get this information anywhere else." In addition to Petersons’s, scholarship directories from other publishers are available in any large bookstore, public library, or high school guidance office.
5. "You are a finalist" or "You have been selected by the national foundation to receive a scholarship." Most legitimate scholarship programs almost never seek out particular applicants. Most scholarship sponsors will contact you only in response to an inquiry because they generally lack the budget to do anything more than this. Should you think that there is any real possibility that you may have been selected to receive a scholarship, before you send any money, investigate first to be sure that the sponsor or program is legitimate.
6. "The scholarship service needs your credit card or checking account number in advance." Never provide your credit card or bank account number on the telephone to the representative of an organization that you do not know. Get information in writing first. An unscrupulous operation does not need your signature on a check. It will scheme to set up situations that will allow it to drain a victim’s account with unauthorized withdrawals.