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Are outside scholarships even worth applying for?

toomanykiddostoomanykiddos Registered User Posts: 216 Junior Member
There are a few outside scholarships that my D19 may be a strong contender for. But from the research I’ve done, I’m not sure it’s worth her even applying. My understanding is that colleges will deduct from our FA packet (specifically need based) and ultimately we will still be paying the same amount of our expected family contribution. Am I understanding this correctly? If I am, then what is the point of applying for them?

Replies to: Are outside scholarships even worth applying for?

  • dygibbsdygibbs Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    @toomanykiddos: Each college has its policy on how it handles outside scholarships.
    The following article should provide more info to answer your question:

    https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/grants-and-scholarships/how-outside-scholarships-affect-your-financial-aid-package#

  • dygibbsdygibbs Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    Just to add, there are some colleges that will credit the funds to the student's account, apply toward direct charges first, and refund the student any excess funds.
  • TQfromtheUTQfromtheU Registered User Posts: 1,379 Senior Member
    It really depends on the school and the unmet need in your package. My DS's school says they use outside aid to first close the gap between the school's family COA and the federal EFC. They would then reduce need based Fed sources, such as loans and work study. Last, they reduced institutional need based aid awarded. (Merit aid is not reduced unless it exceeds COA.)

    I think it is worth it to apply, especially if you don't have award packages yet. I'd rather my student work on scholarship application in high school than have to work a job to make ends meet, especially with a difficult major. His two small outside scholarships end up being money for books, travel to and from school and spending money. I appreciate it.
  • toomanykiddostoomanykiddos Registered User Posts: 216 Junior Member
    Ok so I really need to look deeper into each school. But it sounds like loans, work study and possibly the gap may be reduced prior to need based FA? Is that the general consensus?
  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard Registered User Posts: 2,053 Senior Member
    Yes, you need to check each school's policies.

    Scholarship money will often cancel out expected student contribution, summer employment, loans, etc.
  • dadof2ddadof2d Registered User Posts: 145 Junior Member
    D18 has received enough in outside renewable scholarships to eliminate loans and work study from her financial aid package. They are definitely worth it!
  • billnyegirlbillnyegirl Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    @dadof2d What are some of the scholarships she got?
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 4,252 Senior Member
    I have questions about this as well. As a full pay family, I would have S19 apply for outside scholarships but I have looked a bit and most seem to have some level of need as part of the equation. If anyone knows of a way to search for these scholarships in a meaningful way, i would love to hear about it. I’m coming up with nothing.
  • dadof2ddadof2d Registered User Posts: 145 Junior Member
    @billnyegirl
    The primary two included one national scolarship and one regional scholarship. Both are renewable for four years and both included a need component. They eliminated the loan and work study component of her financial aid package.

    We spent quite a bit of time researching and completing the applications. I would suggest casting a wide net, as you never know which ones will be fruitful. I searched many high schools in the region for their scholarship lists, and used them to start a spreadsheet. I then searched some of the national sites. In the end, our scholarship spreadsheet was pretty detailed. We avoided the lottery scholarships that seemed to be aimed at harvesting personal data. Luckily, most of the scholarship deadlines are after the college application deadlines.

    @homerdog
    Yes, many scholarships include a need component. Just off the top of my head, take a look at the DAR scholarships. They have some that aren't need based, including a math and a science scholarship.
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