Registrars Office offers tips and resources for students hunting for free money.
By Amanda Breister
Spring semester is just around the corner complete with new classes and a new bill to pay. College comes at a price, but scholarships exist to offset the cost for those who choose to pursue them..
Although many scholarships offered by North Central are awarded to only incoming freshman or transfer students, both the church match scholarships and the donor scholarships are available to returning students.
Junior social work major Katie Detloff received a scholarship from her church when she first came to North Central. As a result of receiving the Hosanna! Student Leadership Scholarship, Detloff was also eligible for a North Central church match scholarship. The 50 percent match rate increased the original $500 she received from her church to a total of $750.
“The scholarship was $750 dollars that I didn’t have to pay that semester and less loans I have to worry about in the future,” said Detloff.
North Central also offers donor scholarships that students can apply for every February. These scholarships require an online application, and a committee decides the recipients.
“Being active in your major is very helpful in getting donor scholarships,” said financial aid counselor Alicia Wipf.
Donor scholarships are only available for returning students, and according to Assistant Director of Financial Aid Eric Austin, 70 students received donor scholarships this year.
The financial aid office not only promotes North Central scholarships, but they also promote certain outside scholarships by posting them in the Rama Report.
Apart from North Central, websites such as fastweb.com serve as places to look for scholarships.
“Fastweb is my favorite, and it has been around since I was in high school,” said Associate Director of Processing Claire Montenegro.
Fastweb functions as a huge scholarship search database. Although this makes users aware of the multitude of scholarships that are available, some feel this comes with problems.
“One complaint about fastweb is that you get bombarded with junk emails,” said Wipf.
For students who feel they need help wading through the mass number of scholarships available, websites also exists for that reason.
When searching for scholarship advice, thousanddollarhour.com is a resource to be regarded. This site offers advice from a Northwestern College graduate who paid for all of her college education through scholarships.
Even with so many resources, “You often have to look for a long time with little results,” said Austin.
Because web-based scholarships can be so wide-spread, Montenegro suggests looking for local scholarships offered by private practices such as dentists, banks, organizations students’ parents are a part of, or unions.
Wipf said that between 115 and 120 students received outside scholarships this past year.
Junior secondary education major Antiquika Jones received a little less than $10,000 in scholarships her first year at college, much of this coming from outside scholarships.
Most scholarships require an essay, and Jones suggested having one or two sample essays that can be tweaked to match specific requirements of different scholarships.
“You have to have that essay that brings people to tears or causes them to get this big happy smile on their face. You are not like everyone else; you need to separate yourself,” said Jones.
Jones encouraged people to not get discouraged when looking for scholarships.
“Even though you might not get 20 out of 25 scholarships you apply for, you still get something. Keep selling yourself,” said Jones.
Tools and advice are available in the search for scholarships. If students take time and apply themselves, they may just end up with some free money to help with the rising cost of education.