Financial Aid: Outside Scholarships
Colleges differentiate between the grants and scholarships that they award and scholarships that are awarded from “outside” the school.
Colleges May Reduce Your Aid:
Your school is likely to require you to report any “outside” scholarships to your school’s aid office. If your school has met your full need for aid, the “outside” scholarship would make the combination of your Expected Contribution and your already-awarded aid exceed the Cost of Attendance. That’s against the aid rules, so your “outside” scholarship will change your aid package. The college will use it to replace granted dollars or to reduce your loan or some of each. It’s to your advantage to have your loan, rather than your grant, reduced. If your college hasn’t met your full “need” (there is an aid gap), an “outside” scholarship can help you directly.
Computerized college scholarship search programs are available. If you hear a statement that billions of dollars in scholarship money go unclaimed, be aware that the statistics refer mainly to benefits that could only be claimed by employees of specific companies. You don’t need to pay a fee for this information. Schools, colleges, state agencies, and Internet sites offer computerized searches at no charge. The best scholarship searches are up-to-date. They have large databases and ask many questions to link your interests to groups that offer awards.