The Scholarship Process for
plenty of questions. For example, will you need
to take an ACT
test1? Will you need to take any preparatory courses?
How many hours are considered full-time at your university?
Usually 12 hours or more is full-time and six hours
is part-time. This usually means that four classes make
up a full-time load, since many classes are three hours
Next, go to the financial
aid office and pick up a financial aid packet. They
will have information about the different
types of aid available, and can advise you what
you may qualify for. There will usually be several forms
to fill out where you will list all your assets and
apply for financial aid. There may also be required
documents to gather together. Financial aid (Free
Application for Federal Aid or FAFSA) forms are
available on January 1 of each year. The sooner you
complete the FAFSA after January 1, the better your
chances for a Pell grant.
Speak with a financial aid counselor to learn the exact
procedure you need to follow. Then follow the instructions
to the letter. If you are interested in Federal
work-study, find out if it will lower your outstanding
need. Work-study jobs are usually campus jobs that are
set aside for full-time or part-time students. The hourly
wage starts at the federal minimum level and increases
depending on the job. Work-study students receive regular
paychecks to be used for daily living expenses.
Outstanding need is the estimated amount of financial
need deemed necessary for the student to take care of
living expenses while attending classes, after your
assets have been deducted. The amount of the grants
and loans you are eligible for is based on this outstanding
Types of Financial Aid
- Grants: A grant
is money given to you that you do not need to repay.
There are Pell grants from the federal government, and
your state may also have grants for college students
with an outstanding need.
- Loans: Loans
are monies lent to the student that you will need
to repay upon graduation from college. However, these
student loans are usually at a lower interest rate and
lower monthly payments. Usually you have six months
after graduation before you begin repayment. Be careful
with loans from semester to semester, as they can add
up quickly. They are painless to get and painful to
- Scholarships: Scholarships
are a relatively untapped resource of financial aid
that are attractive because they also do not need to
be repaid. Since this is such a large untapped resource
for the returning student, we will focus on the process
of applying for scholarships.
Scholarship Application Process
- Compile a list of organizations: This is the first
step in applying for scholarships. There are several
sources in the reference section of your public and/or
university library. For example The College Blue
Book by the Macmillan Publishing Company is subdivided
according to your subject major, ethnic group, home
state, and the college you will attend. Take your time
to browse through these references. There are scholarships
for men and women who belonged to the Boys and Girls
Clubs as well as awards for students whose parents worked
for a certain company.
If you have access to the Internet, there are many
online that offer information on scholarships. Some
send periodic updates to your email on scholarships
that you are qualified for. You must first complete
an information page on yourself, what your major is,
what are the characteristics that make you eligible
for certain scholarships and ineligible for others,
etc. The services filter various databases and shows
only those scholarships that match your profile. Next...
1Usually, adults aren't
required to take admissions tests (i.e., the SAT or
ACT), although they do need to take graduate admission
tests such as the GRE or GMAT if attending graduate
school. Many colleges offer a placement test instead
of admission test scores for older students, and don't
consider high school performance or outdated test scores,
especially with transfer students from community colleges.
Keep in mind that as a transfer student, most institutions will consider past academic performance and grade point
average upon application, and often require a minimum grade point average for acceptance.