Every year many high school and college students worry about how to afford a college education. In addition, parents of high school students often wonder how to best finance their child’s education. Given the many individuals who worry about how to fund their education, it may come as a surprise that every year there are billions of scholarship dollars that go unclaimed. Given the uncertain economy, the high cost of education, and the high financial need of many students, you may wonder how it is possible for so many scholarships to go unclaimed. We do too! Read on for more information about how this occurs as well as how students can find unclaimed scholarships that they may be eligible for.
Fastweb reports that nearly $3 billion in scholarship money goes unclaimed simply because eligible high school students do not complete the FAFSA. Thus, one of the easiest ways to ensure that you do not miss out on money that you may be eligible for is to complete the FAFSA as early as possible. Almost 50% of high school students who are eligible to receive funding do not complete the FAFSA. Since this money is awarded until it runs out, students who apply early have the best chance of reaping rewards.
In terms of other scholarships, some go unclaimed because they have odd, unique, or difficult to meet criteria. How do you find these scholarships? The best way is to sign up for a free scholarship search engine, such as Fastweb or Scholarships.com. These search engines will ask you to create a profile, which will prompt you to self report your grade point average, religious affiliation, high school extracurricular activities, biographical information, and other demographic information about you and your parents. The information you provide will automatically match you will all eligible scholarships that you are eligible to apply for. Try to look for awards that have unique criteria that many students would not meet!
In addition to using an online search engine, students who have the most success check out other sources of funding. High school students should definitely ask their high school guidance counselors about any opportunities they hear about. Students may also want to contact their college’s financial aid office to see whether there are any awards that have not yet been awarded. Some of this information may even be available on the college’s website. Students can also find unclaimed scholarships through resources at their public library. Students can also look online, on websites such as: http://www.financialaidfinder.com/category/scholarships/. Students may also want to look for scholarships for individuals with some unique characteristic (i.e., very tall) or talent (i.e., bowling) through an online Google search. Simply search for what makes you stand out! Despite the fact that some scholarships do go unclaimed, the majority of these scholarships are indeed claimed each year. Thus, if you are not having success finding unclaimed scholarships, it may be time to switch gears and spend your time applying to scholarships that will definitely be awarded.