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The Fund offers a list of free scholarship searches and other scholarship tips and information.

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Scholarship Criteria, Deadlines, Scams, and Other Sources of Money

Billions of dollars in scholarships are given each year to support students in pursuing a college education. Scholarships are "free money" because they don't need to be repaid. These scholarships—from foundations, companies, unions, community organizations, churches, and other groups—range from a few hundred dollars to a free ride for all years of college.

Criteria

Many scholarships are based on select criteria, like:

  • grades
  • gender
  • chosen college
  • race
  • parents' organization affiliation
  • artistic ability
  • parents' place of work
  • chosen major
  • religious affiliation
  • organization affiliation
  • leadership ability
  • military background
  • athletic ability
  • economic need

Keys to Tapping into Scholarships

  • Don't rule yourself out. Scholarships are not limited to class valedictorians and star athletes. They are awarded based on a number of factors—from your career goals to exceptional writing skills displayed in an essay contest.
  • Apply for as many awards as you qualify for. Even small awards can be helpful in covering costs, such as books.
  • Pay close attention to deadlines. Missing a deadline is a sure way to become disqualified.
  • Look for scholarships offered by a variety of sources, including companies, unions, foundations, community organizations, churches, and more.
  • Tell family, friends, teachers, and others in your community that you are looking for scholarships. They may know something you do not.
  • Understand the conditions of an award, such as maintaining a specific GPA or participating on an athletic team.
  • Make use of free scholarship directories and searches offered by reputable organizations, such as The Sallie Mae Fund.
  • Watch for scholarship scams. You should never pay for scholarship advice or information.
  • If you receive a scholarship, be sure to write a thank-you note to the organization. You may want to reapply for the scholarship in the future so it is important to make a good impression.

Scholarship Searches

Start your free scholarship search today.