Apply for scholarships!

Subsidize your education cost by applying for scholarships.

Many people miss out on opportunities for free money by not taking the time to apply for the scholarships that are available. They are free monies available that does not need to be paid back. They are offered by schools, employers, endowments, companies, non-profits community organizations, religious groups and many other organizations.

Most scholarships are merit-based. They are awarded based on certain standards that are set by the entity awarding the scholarship. These standards can be based on academic, special talents, traits or interest, financial needs or a combination.

Often, scholarships are geared towards a particular group. For example they could be for women, high school seniors, children or employees of a company sponsored scholarship or military families. Never assume that you might not be eligible.

The amount of a scholarship will vary. Some may cover your tuition, some are one time awards and others may be renewable. Any opportunity you have to apply will be worth the chance that you can reduce the cost of your education.

You can find scholarships to apply for in several different ways. Start at your school. The school counselors will have a listing of available scholars for your local community. Another location to check is the public library. Checking online is another option but you need to proceed with caution to make sure the scholarship information and offers are legitimate. You should never have to pay to find scholarship opportunities. studententaid.edu has a great site on avoiding scholarship scams.

Many scholarships use FAFSA sm to determine awardees, and often you are eligible for financial aid when you assumed otherwise. If you have not completed your FAFSA form yet you have until March to complete. Also financial situations change and if this happens your opportunities for assistance will be easier to obtain if you have already filled out the application.

Michigan State University Extension has a great financial management website to get you started on creating a good plan as you begin this next chapter of your life. And if you’re wondering about your financial health, take a financial health survey from MI Money Health to get your financial health score. It’s confidential and your answers never connect back to your name. This survey can help you evaluate your current financial situation, provide ideas on how you may improve your financial health, and connect you to resources in your local community. Good luck!

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