By Danielle Koons
I found out today that FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. So when people say, “Hey, have you applied for FAFSAyet?” they’re really saying, “Hey, have you applied for a free application for federal student aid?” Is it proper toapply for an application? I feel that may be redundant.
Regardless of their poorly chosen acronym, I love free money and college students can’t be choosers. Luckily for us, there are thousands of different scholarships available- we just have to know where to look.
Now, I could give you a break down of how to apply for FAFSA but the website provides a fairly fantastic walk through. Go towww.fafsa.ed.gov and fill in your information. Name, SSN, etc. Easy peasy.
I asked a few of my friends how they finally got approved for any type of scholarship or financial aid. Here are some of the answers I received:
1) “Having a baby.”
2) “Being married.”
3) “Being homeless. I wasn’t homeless though so I couldn’t apply for that one.”
4) “Being over 24.”
5) “Being an employee of the university or a spouse or child of an employee is very helpful. That’s how I ended up getting half tuition!”
6) “I married a man in the military, and the military is paying for it. Not sure if that helps… Prior to being married though, I was kind of gypped for financial aide, I was independent, had my own health insurance, and was not being supported by my mom. The reason I was gypped was because I was 22 at the time, and was unable to not claim myself as a dependent. I hope that helps some.”
7) “I made the mistake of applying before I got married…you can’t reapply for a certain amount of time.”
8) “Work. I decided I much prefer working for financial aid (when no scholarships are available) to taking out student loans. If you can avoid it at all costs, don’t do it.”
9) “Don’t be white. I got a scholarship because my mom is from El Salvador.”
As for me, I found I couldn’t qualify till my parents stopped claiming me on their taxes. Weird, but true. I applied for years and never got it—and then bam. Free monies!
If you are a single parent, try out these scholarships:
- The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund: This one is great, but is only awarded to single parent residents of Arkansas.
- The Jeanette Rankin Foundation Scholarship Program: Applications are accepted from November thru February. This scholarship isn’t limited to single mothers; it applies to all single women 35 and older.
- Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation for Low-Income Women and Children: Aimed at low-income mothers and education for their children.
- The R.O.S.E. Scholarship: This scholarship is designed for women and single mothers who have broken free from domestic violence. It is usually awarded to women who have completed at least 1 year of undergraduate school.
- W.I.S.P. Change Your World Scholarship: This is designed for the children of those who have graduated from W.I.S.P (Women’s Independence Scholarship Program).
If you are a newly married couple and are trying to finish college:
- Pell Grants are a great avenue. They aren’t only for newlyweds, but newlyweds seem to fit the bill nicely for this scholarship.
- David H. Runyon Scholarship at Indiana University East: This scholarship is given to nontraditional students with partiality to those who are married. The students must be residents of Richmond, Indiana and demonstrate how they view education as a way to improve their lives.
- Ed Bacome Scholarship: This is awarded annually to students enrolled full-time as an undergraduate at the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Partiality to married students.
- Carl K. Davis Scholarship: Offered by Idaho State, this scholarship program is geared toward married students who are majoring in pre-law with at least a 2.0. GPA. This award is not based on financial need.
- Paul W. Martin Sr. Scholarship: From Middle Tennessee State University. Offered to full-time students, must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours of Honors classes or in the thesis project stage of the curriculum. The student must also show good academic record with the Honors College. Preference toward married students, military, and children of Tennessee Valley Authority.
- Carolyn Reinbold Scholarship and American Association of Women Scholarship: For students who are completing a bachelor’s degree at Dixie State College. The applicant must have at least a 3.0 GPA, earned 62 credit hours or an associate’s degree. Priority is given to married students and health sciences majors based on financial need.
- The American Association of University Women (AAUW): Students who are above the age of 24, married or single with kids are eligible to apply. This scholarship is for students attending college for the first time or completing a degree. Applicants must have at least a 2.0 high school GPA or a 2.0 GPA from their previous college.
There are a lot of colleges and universities that offer scholarships and grants to married students. If you are applying for financial aid or grants, simply contact your school and ask them if there are any scholarships or grants given to students in your specific situation. In most situations, if the grant or scholarship requires, for instance, that the recipient must live on campus, the school will waive that requirement.
For homeless or formerly homeless students:
The Horatio Alger Association: gives approximately 1,000 scholarships each year to eligible students who have overcome adversity in their lives.
LeTendre Education Fund for Homeless Children Scholarship: LeTendre scholarship funds are available to students who are homeless or who have been homeless during their K-12 school attendance, and who have demonstrated average or higher than average achievement.
For people of color:
- United Negro College Fund Scholarships
- Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarships
- Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarships
- Jackie Chan Scholarship (I’m not kidding!)
- Bruce Lee Scholarship (Awesome, right?)
- Dream Deferred Essay Contest
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund
- Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards
- Native American Indian Scholarships (There are so many listed I couldn’t possibly put them all here. Rest assured that if you are even 1/16 Native, you’ll get scholarship money.)
This isn’t even all of the ones I found. I listed a few from each category so you could see what kinds were offered. I found a really cool website that has about 200 scholarships listed for specific groups.
There are more than minority scholarships listed. For instance, there are also:
Scholarships given by companies like: Shell Oil Scholarship, MacDonald’s Scholarship, Burger King, Kohl’s, KFC, State Farm Insurance, and more.
Scholarships for disabilities: Epilepsy, Autism, Blindness, Alzheimer’s, and the children of those who have these disabilities.
And cool scholarships geared toward a particular field: Nursing, Journalism, Astronaut, Red Cross, Art, and Public Relations.
Kid you not, I saw one for Bowling.
Well, by now you should see that just because you don’t currently have a scholarship, it doesn’t mean there aren’t some out there for you to snag. Happy hunting!
Danielle Koons spends her time going to school for a stupid Bachelor of Science degree, smelling like wet dog (courtesy of her job as a groomer), and pretending to be a famous writer. But not a boring stuffy writer. A cool writer like Lewis Carroll, so she can ignore the “rules” of the English language and make up her own words.
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