Brandon Cole, Staff Writer

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There are two main categories for financial aid for college students: scholarships, and loans. Scholarships, also known as gift aid, don’t need to be repaid. Loans, on the other hand, must be repaid and can often be very expensive.

Roughly 2/3’s of college graduates receive gift aid. That equates to about 1.2 million students a year. For full-time undergraduates that go for a bachelors degree at a public school, the average gift aid received is $5,750. For the same student going to a private school for the same time length, the amount of money jumps to $15,680.

There are 3 main sources for scholarships. 40% of the 122 billion dollars awarded (in 2013-14) was provided by the federal government, with colleges and universities coming in close at 39%. 13% comes from private sources, and 8% comes from the local states.

There are two main types of scholarships: merit-based scholarships, and need-based scholarships. Merit-based scholarships are based on a students academic, artistic, or athletic achievement. Need-based scholarships are based off one’s financial needs.

Merit-based scholarships are incredibly competitive, with typically more applicants than available funds. While most are based off of measurable academic achievements, some aren’t and are referred to as “grade-blind”. These are tied to a student’s potential.

Need-based scholarships are based on the other hand use the FASFA, which uses a formula to determine financial need.
Kate Keegan, the Lindbergh College & Career Counselor, recommends using online tools to assist one in finding scholarships that could be available to one. She believes that it’s never too early to start looking for scholarships, but states that since most of the potential scholarship money comes from the schools themselves, going onto a school’s website can give one a much better idea of the amount of money one could earn.

“The best way to get that information is to go to the colleges website and look up freshman scholarships, and it’ll give you a list of all the scholarships to apply for, so not only when you apply to a school, you’ll know if you’ll be eligible for scholarships, and you’ll know how much you can earn.”

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