Not many things are as disappointing as wanting to get ahead and either being unable to or not knowing how. In this competitive world of economic downturns where a college degree is more and more becoming the standard for acquiring a good job – or any job, for that matter – what’s a low-income or struggling family to do? According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average cost to attend college has more than doubled to nearly $20,000 in the past 30 years.
Despite popular opinion, student loans can be avoided. When it comes to your education, there are other options out there despite your financial circumstances. You just have to know where to look, and when I say, “your income matters,” it’s not a bad thing. Scholarships are available based on need for virtually any career you want to pursue.
The obvious place to look is your intended college to see what financial aid and scholarship programs they have available, but state-based scholarships are also a great place to look.
Federal grants are also largely based on need and can supplement the funds received from scholarships. Grants and scholarships are often made available depending on your chosen major, chosen school, or if you will attend within your own state of residence. The internet is a great place to search and apply for scholarships specific to your need and interest.
However, scholarships aren’t awarded entirely on the basis of financial need, but other criteria are usually considered, such as academic achievement, community service and performance in other extracurricular activities. Since each scholarship’s requirements are different, you should thoroughly review the scholarship criteria to make sure you qualify.
What Are Some Need-Based College Scholarships?
Below are some general and state-specific, need-based scholarships you might find helpful:
The Unmet Need Scholarship – Available to students from low-income families, who are lacking between $1,000 and $3,800 to meet their financial aid goals.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship – Available to high-achieving 7th graders, undergraduates and graduate students. Offers up to $30,000 annually to transfer students from 2-year to 4-year colleges.
The USA Funds Access to Education Scholarship – Available to high school seniors from low-income families.
The Ernestine Matthews Trust Scholarship Award – Available to graduating seniors (and residents of Maryland) with above average grades. Award continues for four years if applicant can maintain at least a “C” average.
The Korean American Scholarship Fund – Available to college-enrolled students of Korean heritage, in various regions around the United States.
The Ron Brown Scholar Program – Available to high-achieving African-American high school seniors with demonstrated leadership capability and financial need.