Major Myth: Unused Scholarships/Financial Aid

<p>Had quite a debate recently with somebody who thinks they know a lot about everything ;-) !! This person has 'heard' that there are lots of financial aid dollars 'out there' that aren't used simply because kids don't apply. I heartily disagreed, but had no info (nor did this other person!) to counter his argument. I suggested this was perhaps merely anecdotal information. Has anyone heard about this kind of thing or know where this urban legend may have been started?? I simply can't believe this is true.</p>

<p>I'm sure this is not true. Rather than trying to prove a negative, why not ask him to substantiate his claim? Exactly what money is lying around where?</p>

<p>Several years ago, there was an infomercial promoting a book that supposedly provided information on untapped resources such as scholarships, grants, and other little known private & government funding. That may have been the breeding ground of that rumor. IMO, the only scholarships that go unused have such stringent eligibility requirements that no one would qualify, i.e. to be considered applicant must be all of the following...female, 5 ft 5 in tall, size 7 shoes, brown hair, green eyes, and enjoy scifi movies.</p>

<p>I live in a small town (graduating class of 160) and we actually had local scholarships that no one took the time to apply for last year.</p>

<p>Exactly. Lots of local scholarships are never applied for. Maybe thats what they were referring to.</p>

<p>"IMO, the only scholarships that go unused have such stringent eligibility requirements that no one would qualify, i.e. to be considered applicant must be all of the following...female, 5 ft 5 in tall, size 7 shoes, brown hair, green eyes, and enjoy scifi movies."</p>

<p>Scholarships sponsored by creepy comic book store employees do not count.</p>

<p>Darn, my daughter's feet are a little too big! <em>laugh</em></p>

<p>D won $13,000 at awards night at our high school. She rec'd local scholarships for $5,000, 1,500, 1,100, 250 and 150. Also a state level award (one from each hs in NY state) for 5,000.</p>

<p>Although she was certainly deserving of these awards, she did not have the competition she should have because many top students did not bother to write the essays necessary to be awarded them.</p>

<p>I played the mean mother and kept track of the deadline for these essays. I insisted she not make social plans the weekend before they were all due until the essays and applications were all complete and ready to be handed into guidance.</p>

<p>The night she won them all she thanked me profusely and said her friends were dumb to not apply. Most of their parents couldn't figure out why my D won so many and their kids didn't.</p>

<p>I don't think it works that way. I know when my S turned down a good merit scholarship, what we found out is that they offer more than they have, knowing some will be turned down.</p>

<p>I think all schools calculate how much they can offer in both merit and need based aid with the understanding that a fairly predictable amount will be turned down. </p>

<p>In any case, at this point, it wouldn't be money students could apply for.</p>

<p>as far as local scholarships, in our town, and many others I believe, the majority have a need-based component which students assume precludes them applying for them. Additionally, most were community service based, not academic. The "top students" were rarely awarded them. The prevailing feeling was "they will go for free wherever they get in." (LOL...) We scoured the list the school sent home, and at the time, felt most didn't apply to S (though the situation changed when it was too late). In any case, all scholarships went to someone, so money wasn't just left "lying around."</p>

<p>At our local public library I checked out a few books with lists of scholarships. However most of them are extremely specific as to place of residence, ethnicity, academic major, health problems, employment, etc. So I can see that some of those might not get applications. I didn't see any my D qualified for and there were hundreds listed. </p>

<p>This spring I was on a committee to review applications for scholarships our choir booster club gets out. We only had six apps for the two senior scholarships and only one application for three underclass scholarships (for camp or lessons). I was surprised at the lack of applications since we have a lot of students with financial need who say they cannot pay the required $50 fee for uniforms and supplies. The applicaton wasn't long or difficult. It was rather frustrating since the booster club works so hard to raise the money for the scholarships.</p>

<p>It may be the case that for some of the scholarships that not very many people apply, and thus that you may not have to be extremely accomplished to be the winner.</p>

<p>There are scholarships unclaimed, and totaled add up to significant amounts, but I have found that the vast, vast majority of them are small scholarships that are very specialized. Depending on the schedule and other things kids are doing, it can be time consuming and ornerous to apply for awards that are sometimes as little as $100. There is a local scholarship here, that S started, and it is three pages, needs three references, interviews, and all sorts of info directly sent to them for a big $500. THe time that could take and the people he would bug if did a number of those could really be a problem, and he is probably earning more working.</p>

<p>Aren't those little scholarships frequently subtracted out from need-based aid the schools provide anyway?</p>

<p>In some cases, you might have to write an essay with a particular viewpoint--I saw one recently that essentially wanted an essay supporting a constitutional right to gun ownership.</p>

<p>Muhlenberg College had a supplemental FA form with 4 or 5 pages of specific scholarships listed, and one could check off those for which one qualified. There were many that were quite restrictive ("Member of Lutheran Church and graduate of Lancaster County high school studying to be a teacher"). I sometimes wonder how many of those are actually given out each year.</p>

<p>For my d, the huge issue was recommendations. She needed recs for Gov's School, NHS, college, summer programs, etc. The scholarship programs often wanted more recs - and many of them specified not to send in college recs. Our local HS graduates 700 kids per year - the teachers can't keep up with all the requests already.</p>

<p>If a student spent his time working on a lot of those little scholarships in place of IM time, game time, facebook, myspace, etc, he could get himself some extra money. For those who do not have need based aid but could use a financial boost, it would be a useful pasttime. Also there are many kids out there who are gapped on their financial aid or who have loans that could be whittled down by these scholarships. For those who have aid packages that are reduced $ for $, grant first, for any outside scholarships, it would not be worth the effort. For most kids, it would be worth it.</p>

<p>A quick anectodal story: D applied for, and received a local scholarship for $750 per year. It was specific only to region and very generally, to academic major. In her junior year, the scholarship was increased to $2,000 without any explanation. D's school's policy is to allow outside scholarships without reducing school grants, so this was great. Turns out the funding foundation gave her more because fewer kids were applying.</p>

<p>So, better to apply than not. Also, keep in mind that many of these applications are due before the student decides on a school, so even though cptofthehouse is 100% correct, you might not know what your child's school's policy will be until he/she actually receives the scholarship (this happened with S - $3500-4500 per year straight to the college).</p>

<p>i found an old article on FinAid stating that the myth didn't apply to scholarships, etc. and that the study that was quoted so much was done in the 80's and relates only to employment-based aid. i've heard this rumor a lot, though i find it hard to believe that all the times i've heard it it related to a study done almost 30 years ago. idk, here's the link, check it out. FinAid</a> | Scholarships | Financial Aid Information Page Debunks the "$6.6 Billion in Unclaimed Aid" Myth</p>

<p>My son did take the time to apply for scholarships (particularly local). Other than the scholarships he was awarded at admissions time (based on test scores/gpa) he didn't get anything. We don't have "need," he doesn't have ECs that stand out ... just great test scores & strong gpa. Niece, on the other hand, has average test scores/average gpa, but very compelling ECs ... mission-type work. She got quite a few local scholarships. I have come to the conclusion that it is worth it to try ... but do NOT count on it. You will never get scholarships if you don't try, but you will not necessarily get any if you do.</p>