Another great way to help your students avoid student debt is by encouraging them to apply for scholarships. Unlike loans and other student aid, scholarships do not have to be paid back, which make them the best alternative to student debt. There are thousands of scholarships available for students every year. It is only a matter of students making time to find them and to apply.
Good news! There are multiple reasons your students can be awarded scholarships and not all of them merit-based. Everyone has an opportunity at receiving scholarships. Some types of scholarships available are:
- Academic scholarships or merit scholarships are awarded to students with a high GPA or SAT/ACT test scores.
- Average academic performance scholarships are awarded to students with average GPAs but also focus on well-rounded students and scholarship essays.
- Athletic scholarships are awarded to students who excel in sports. These are usually awarded by universities in order to persuade the athlete to play on their teams.
- Minority scholarships are awarded to students belonging to “minority” ethnic groups. There are scholarships for individual ethnic groups as well as scholarships for students of any minority.
- Women scholarships are awarded to women to encourage a more diverse campus. Another tip is to look for major-specific scholarships for women, especially STEM subjects.
- Creative scholarships are awarded to those who want to pursue a creative career in music, art, dance, etc. These scholarships are usually more common in art schools and sometimes require a sort of audition.
- Unusual scholarships are awarded for many fun reasons. There are scholarships for unique talents or random competitions. For example, creating a prom dress entirely out of duck tape. There are plenty of unusual scholarships awarded by private companies; they might just be a little harder to find.
- Community service scholarships are awarded to those who have completed community service activities. If your students are interested in scholarship, it is very helpful for them to put together a community service hour log to track their involvement.
There are several free websites that match your students’ profile to scholarships that might be available for them. Here are a few of these resources:
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