Billions in free money available for scholarships

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					32 • The Monitor • March 29, 2007

Billions in
free money
available for
   Money for college is out there; but
only if you apply for it.
   That’s the message from The
Institute for Higher Education Policy,
which estimates there are billions of
dollars in college scholarships avail-
able each year. Awards can range from
a few hundred dollars to a full ride for
all four years, and best of all, they do
not need to be repaid.
   “Searching for scholarships may
take a little time and energy, but
remember – it’s free money,” said
Kathleen deLaski, president of The
Sallie Mae Fund, a national charitable
organization. “Even if you spend five
hours applying for scholarships and
receive only one $500 scholarship,
that’s still the same as earning $100 an
hour. Money is available, but you have
to take the first step and apply.”
   Indeed, The Sallie Mae Fund will
once again provide $2.5 million in col-
lege scholarships to roughly 1,000
deserving students pursuing higher
education this fall. Applications, eligi-
bility and deadline information are
now available online at www.sal-
   And deLaski stresses that these
awards are not limited to the class
valedictorian or star athletes.
“Scholarships are awarded based on a
number of factors — from your inter-
ests to where your parents work to
exceptional writing skills displayed in
an essay contest,” she said.
   Here are some tips from deLaski
and other Sallie Mae experts on how
to tap into free money for college:
   • Apply for as many awards as you
qualify for. Even small awards can be
helpful in covering the cost of books.
   • Pay close attention to deadlines.
Missing a deadline is a sure way to
become disqualified.
   • Look for scholarships offered by a
variety of sources, including compa-
nies, unions, foundations, community
organizations, churches and more.
   • Tell family, friends, teachers and
others in your community that you are
looking for scholarships. They may
know something you do not.
   • Understand the conditions of an
award — such as maintaining a spe-
cific GPA or participating on an athlet-
ic team.
   • Watch for scholarship scams. You
should never have to pay for scholar-
ship advice or information.
   • If you get a scholarship, be sure
to write a thank you note to the organ-
ization. You may want to reapply for
the scholarship in the future so it is
important to make a good impression.
   “It may seem out of your reach, but      Research
once you take that first step and apply,
you quickly see how worthwhile it all       saves lives.
is,” said Leanna Pearson, 2006 Sallie
Mae Fund scholarship winner and
Spelman College junior.


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