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Scholarships for Undergraduates

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Paying for college can be overwhelming. Many students wonder how they will afford their college expenses. But there is hope. For individuals seeking an undergraduate degree, there are many opportunities for undergraduate financial aid. Students may qualify for federal or state financial aid, college work study programs, and scholarships.

Scholarships are awarded based on financial need, and/or merit. Many colleges and universities, big or small, private or public, offer a variety of undergraduate scholarships. In fact, there are thousands of scholarships available for undergraduate students. It is just a matter of seeking them out.

Undergraduates are individuals pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree. Types of undergraduates include community college students, high school graduates, an adult returning to college after a period of absence, a four-year college student, or a homeschooled student. Most undergraduate scholarships fall into two categories: student-specific and subject-specific.

Student-Specific Undergraduate Scholarships

Students can utilize the Internet or their school of choice’s financial aid office to seek out undergraduate financial aid, including scholarships. Most colleges and universities offer student-specific undergraduate scholarships. These are scholarships designed to assist students within a particular sociological group. Types of sociological groups include low-income students, international students, military students, first in the family to attend college, minority students, and other categories.

Students who are born into low-income families have options for undergraduate scholarships such as the NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program. This program in particular awards exceptional students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are interested in a career in biomedical, behavioral, social science, or health-related research. This scholarship awards up to $20,000 per academic year to assist with tuition, some living expenses, and educational expenses. This is a renewable scholarship for up to four years. In addition, students awarded this scholarship have the opportunity to work at NIH for the summer and possibly after graduation.

International students can also reap the benefits of undergraduate financial aid through scholarships. Usually, colleges and universities accepting international students have scholarships to offer. An example of a scholarship like this is one provided by DAAD, a German Academic Exchange Service, which provides scholarships for undergraduates studying abroad.

Military students can also take advantage of undergraduate financial aid through scholarships. An example of a military undergraduate scholarship is the Air Force ROTC High School Scholarship Program. This program awards three and four-year scholarships to high school seniors. Another example is the Scholarship for Military Children. This scholarship is awarded to children of military personnel. Each child receives $1,500 in scholarship money to use towards their college expenses.

Students who are ‘first in the family’ to attend college also have options for undergraduate scholarships. One particular award is the First in My Family Scholarship Program which awards from $500 to $5,000 per year to a Hispanic-American first in their family to attend college.

Minority students can also qualify for many undergraduate scholarships. Minority students include African-Americans, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, Native Americans, Arab-American, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT). One undergraduate scholarship for minorities is The Gates Millennium Scholars program.

Scholarships are available for students in other sociological groups as well. For example, vegan students can find undergraduate scholarships. These scholarships are typically sponsored by local organizations in favor of the vegan cause. Shaw-Worth Memorial Scholarship offers scholarships for high school seniors in the New England area who have been involved with advocating the protection of animals. There is no application required for consideration. Instead, students are required to write an essay, listing activities and achievements related to animal protection. The prize is $1,500 which is awarded every year.

Subject-specific Undergraduate Scholarships

Undergraduate students can also look into subject-specific undergraduate scholarships. These are typically scholarships awarded for students within a particular area of study. An example of a subject-specific scholarship is a nursing scholarship providing by the School of Nursing, or a journalism scholarship awarded by the Journalism department at a college or university. To be considered for these types of scholarships, the undergraduate student must be pursuing a degree in a particular area of study. A FAFSA may be required for consideration. Some corporations, like Wal-mart, and government agencies also award undergraduate scholarships.

Points to Note about Undergraduate Financial Aid/Scholarships

  • Determine the type of undergraduate scholarship to pursue.
  • Check if a FAFSA needs to be filled out and submitted for consideration. If so, be prepared by having all pertinent materials with you when filling out the form.
  • Know all requirements, eligibility criteria, and deadlines.
  • Check with college officials, local organizations and government agencies for potential undergraduate scholarships at your fingertips.

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