Curbing the College Cost: In light of National Scholarship Month, college and career programming and resources coordinator Melinda Stephan explains process for scholarships


Emily Sandy

Melinda Stephan

Emily Sandy

What are the different types of scholarships?

Need-based aid is based on your family’s finances, meaning you can get a grant or a scholarship based on your need. There are also what we call merit-based scholarships. That’s based not usually on finances, but on your academic performance, your athletic performance or your performing arts performance. You could have a lot of community service and get a scholarship related to that. When we talk about scholarships, we’re usually talking about those merit-based scholarships.

Where can scholarships come from?

Most of the scholarship money you get usually comes from the college itself. It requires filling out applications on time. Sometimes it’s a separate scholarship application. The other source of scholarships is typically what we call private scholarships. These are scholarships that are offered by nonprofit organizations like businesses. They are abundant, but you have to kind of pound the pavement to find them.

What are some resources to find scholarships?

In Naviance Student, if you go to the “colleges section” and then (in the) “scholarships and money” (section), we have a scholarship list that we keep updated. These are mostly local scholarships. There (are) also different scholarship search tools. There’s one called Fastweb. You create a free account, and then it sends you an email every week about scholarships that you might be interested in. Those are going to be like state scholarships, regional scholarships and national scholarships.