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  • Writer's pictureMichele Coleman


One of the questions I'm asked the most is “How do I obtain scholarships?” Let’s cover all the bases.

First, there are 2 types of scholarships: Need Based & Merit Based.

Need-based scholarships are based on family income. These scholarships and grants might be awarded by the Federal Government via the FAFSA, your state government, colleges, and private scholarship foundations.

Merit-based scholarships are based on your GPA, curriculum, and sometimes on activities you have done or groups that you identify with, such as religious, ethnic, sports, etc. Most merit money will be awarded by the colleges themselves and determined from your college application.

To obtain scholarships, most families should do the following:


Complete the FAFSA, even if you feel you won’t be awarded free money, it will still qualify your student for low-cost federal loans.

¨Research your state’s financial aid office online to see if you might qualify for any state aid and what the steps might be to qualify for that aid.

¨Research every financial aid website of every college you will be applying to, to see if any scholarships offered by the school have separate applications and deadlines.

¨Visit one of the scholarship sites below, complete a profile, and begin to search for private scholarships.

Here are a few scholarship sites (there are many and I don’t endorse and am not compensated for sharing these links):


College - non-profit’s free search, no login, no ads, spam-free search, also by state


Student Scholarship Search

Searching for private scholarships is tedious and time-consuming, but if you are persistent, it just might pay off!


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