Posted February 4, 2016

Scholarships: Fantastic bucks and where to find them

Scholarships aren’t mythical creatures. In fact, they’re often just waiting for the right student to come along. Here’s what to know about the search.

An owl with a commencement cap above the word scholarship.
Scholarships are a form of gift aid—money available to students that doesn't need to be paid back.

So you’ve filed your FAFSA. Now what?

(Side note: If you didn’t complete the *free* financial aid application, you may want to check out our first Owl About the Money post.)

“After you do your FAFSA, I’d be looking for scholarships,” said Temple’s Assistant Vice President and Bursar David R. Glezerman. “Every dollar in scholarship may help prevent students from having to take out a loan.”

This week, we bring you seven tips as you prepare to embark on that search.

But first, a bit of practical advice from Student Financial Services Director Craig Fennell: “Everyone wants scholarships but not everyone is willing to work for them. Be one of the few who is.”

Now repeat after us: Challenge accepted.

  1. Understand scholarships.
    Technically speaking, scholarships are awards to help students pay for college that don’t need to be repaid. In simple terms, they’re pretty fantastic funds that can help save you significant money on college.

    Some scholarships are need-based (need calculated by the FAFSA, that is), while others are merit-based. Temple will match qualifying incoming students with a number of scholarships, including academic merit scholarships, during the admissions process. Individual departments and outside groups offer many additional opportunities. Consider the work in securing scholarships to be in your proverbial court; consider the search on.

  2. Cast a wide net.
    Leave no rock unturned, Fennell recommends. “Ask about scholarships everywhere you can think of,” he said. That can include hometowns, employers, high schools, civic groups and religious organizations.

    Glezerman added: “Some can be because you’re a left-footed soccer player.” In all seriousness, there are plenty of specific examples out there, he said, and some funds may go untapped if eligible candidates don’t apply.

    The web is a good place to start, Fennell said. Try applying through scholarship search sites such as College Board, Peterson’s College Search and Fast Web.

    You can also check out our informational pages for incoming and current students. And there’s this helpful directory to steer you to award opportunities for each of Temple’s schools and colleges.

  3. Start now—and don’t stop.
    Your undergraduate education will last four years (and only four years, right?), and so too should your search for scholarships. In fact, some scholarships are designed specifically for upperclassmen so keep your eyes peeled for potential awards throughout college.

    “Start early,” Fennell said. “Right now is always the best time. Apply through the online search sites every year.”

  4. A new email account wouldn’t hurt.
    “Create a new personal email account and direct all your scholarship traffic to it,” Fennell suggested. “This protects your other email accounts from any spam or advertisements you might get and provides a single account to check regularly for follow-ups they ask you to do.”

  5. Scholarships = free money. Keep it that way.
    Applying for free money should be free, Fennell said, so those asking for fees likely aren’t legitimate. Simply put, he said: “Skip those.”

    Glezerman suggests a more sensible approach: “By searching Google, you’ll be able to find as many, if not more, than paying a company to do it for you. Never pay for that type of service.”

  6. All hail the deadline.
    Yes, the dreaded D word. You’re going to have to get used to deadlines in your college classes and at work, so learn how to conquer ‘em now. Some deadlines are fast approaching (e.g., the Memorial Awards offered by Temple’s Dean of Students Office has a deadline of Feb. 29). Get going!

  7. Show us the money.
    Seriously. If you’re coming to Temple and you’ve received scholarship money, you’ll want to let Student Financial Services know (here’s how).

For more information on scholarships, Student Financial Services has a list of links to both Temple-specific information and external websites that will help guide you on your quest.

Related stories:
Five things to know about the FAFSA
Owl about the money: A guide to being financially savvy in college
Grants: Where they come from and how they help