Financial Aid & Enrollment Management Consultant
If you were awarded a college scholarship, it’s important to check into the details as you’re probably planning for a typical four- or five-year plan of study to earn your bachelor’s degree. Below are some questions to ask both yourself and the scholarship committee.
- Is the award only for freshman year, or is it renewable? Many local scholarships are for incoming first-year college students and not for the additional years of schooling you’ll complete. These funds are still valuable, but just plan to apply for other awards moving forward.
- If the scholarship is renewable, is it for the same amount? You want to be clear if the amount will be the same for each year of the award or if it decreases over time. Again, pre-planning is needed when it comes to college expenses.
- What are the minimum requirements to keep the renewable award? Check to see how many credit hours you must enroll in and complete to keep the award or if there’s a required GPA minimum. Carefully plan with your academic advisor to take the right mix of classes each semester so you can keep your scholarship.
- If awarded a scholarship from a college or university for partial or full tuition, will an outside scholarship award reduce your offer? Some schools will reduce scholarship offers if you win other awards. Also, some scholarships and grants are required to only pay for tuition. Check on the specifics for your school, and see if local scholarship offers will agree to pay for room and board as another option.
- Does the award remain in place if you change your academic major? If the award is limited to students in specific majors, then there’s a good chance it won’t. You’ll then have to make some decisions related to your future academic and financial aid plans.
- If you’re awarded funding that more than covers basic college expenses, can you use the extra funds for living expenses or the next academic year? This is a great situation to be in, but organizations offering scholarships will have different policies, so following up with the scholarship committee to obtain this information is important.
For more answers to your burning questions about scholarships and loans, check out the other posts in our Financial Aid—Ask the Experts section.