During a recent FB Live show, I discussed “Grants and Scholarships 101 for Parents of college-bound teens”. Although teens are applying for the scholarships, oftentimes, parents are searching and later reminding their teen about available scholarship opportunities. Scholarship searches on the internet can take a lot of time. My aim in this show episode was to give parents some practical tips that will save time when seeking money for college, especially free money that you don’t have to give back. . . grants and scholarships.
The first of this two-part series on what parents must know about grants and scholarships will provide an overview to help you get started. In the second part of this series, I will discuss what parents must know about applying for scholarships.
Let’s get started by answering 2 common questions that I get from parents:
Is a grant the same as a scholarship?
We often use the term “grant” and “scholarship” as one and the same. Grants are usually need-based, which means that a family may only be eligible to receive the grant based on household income. To determine eligibility, the family may have to show proof of income or submit financial documentation.
“Scholarships” often refers to merit-based awards, which means that it doesn’t matter how much money the parents make. And the term “merit” can be defined very broadly. Some of the “merit” scholarships my students have received have been based on musical and artistic talents, geographic location, community service, even being a boy/girl.
Knowing these distinctions in terminology can help with your online searches.
This is a great question because if you don’t know who gives out scholarships then you may overlook scholarships that your teen can get. The source can be different based on whether it’s a grant or scholarship:
Who awards grants
a. Federal – Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine eligibility for federal grants, like the Pell Grant.
b. State – depending on your home state, the FAFSA may be used to see if your teen qualifies for any state grants.
c. Colleges – colleges also require FAFSA to determine if your teen qualifies for any grants they offer. If it’s a private college, parents may also have to complete the CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile to determine eligibility.
Who awards scholarships
d. Anybody and everybody, like
- credit unions
- private organizations
- non-profit organizations
e. Colleges – the most lucrative scholarships my students have received came directly from the colleges. So when your teen is developing their college list, that will play a significant role in how big the scholarship offer may be. My suggestion here . . . don’t sleep on the importance of the college list!
What other tips or places should be included here? Please share in the comments below.
Author: Pamela E
Dr. Pamela has helped thousands of teens attend the college of their choice. She brings her 25 years experience in education to assist families, schools, and employers with college selection, admissions, financial aid, and more. Dr. Pamela holds a PhD from Stanford School of Education, and an MBA from Dartmouth.