Scholarships - Types and Sources

To stay up to date on new scholarships, please read the weekly Career Center Newsletter

There are two primary categories of aid.

  1. Scholarships

    • Colleges, corporations, and community groups pay for talent: academic, athletic, music, performing arts, residency, need, anything the the scholarship fund finds worthy.
    • Detailed discussion is below
  2. Need Based Financial Aid

    • Comprised of Loans, Grants, and Work Study

Types of Scholarships

  • Merit Scholarships

    • Academic
    • Athletic
    • Talent of some kind - e.g. music, athletics
  • Need-Based Scholarships

    • Requirements and need are defined by the sponsoring agency - may be strictly or loosely defined
      • Private groups and corporations
      • Educational institutions
      • Government agencies
    • Based on required financial filing which may be a
      • Form provided by the sponsoring agency, a
      • FAFSA filing is a
        • Standard requirement for all educational institutions. Determines the amount and type of Federal Student Aid  for applicants
        • Baseline set by the scholarship sponsoring group
      • CSS Profile filing may be required by some institutions.  Generally used to determine distribution of institutional monies.
      • (Some colleges will ask for all 3 types of forms. Check yours.)
  • Residency Scholarship

    • Virginia's Legislature provides a TAG scholarship for Virginia residents attending a private school in Virginia.  This is not automatic.  An application is required.

Scholarship Sources

  • Colleges / Universities (School-Dependent Scholarships)

    • Require recipients to attend the gifting college/university
    • Look for priority deadlines which equate to scholarship deadlines
    • Check college financial aid pages to discover advertised scholarships requiring
      • Separate application
      • Nomination - speak with your counselor at least 15 working days before the due date
  • Private groups/corporations (School Independent Scholarships)

    • No Payback (Free Money)
    • Read requirements carefully to ensure you qualify
    • Complete application thoroughly and carefully -- FOLLOW ALL DIRECTIONS
    • Most require direct mailing or submission by the applicant; however, some scholarships require submission to the Career Center for processing.
  • Scholarships with Obligation - Work Exchange Agreement Examples (may or may not be school-independent)

    • U.S. Military - ROTC - agree to serve after commissioning or to pay back sponsor investment in some way.
    • Some Agencies - e.g. NSA recruits specific skills by funding education & the recipient agrees to work 1.5 years for every year of education financed. 
    • Private corporations/agencies may have similar agreements

Useful Links: -

NOTE:  Users of scholarship search engines may wish to create a separate email specifically for that use.  Many companies require permission to sell your email which may generate volumes of junk mail you won't want in your personal email.

Scholarship Scams - Information from the Federal Trade Commission

College Access Fairfax - Offers workshops and local scholarships available in season. Enter "scholarship" in the search field to see what is available.

CollegeBoard - Information about scholarships and a search engine (parameters include: Educational level, Type of scholarship, Citizenship, Sex, Residence, Ethnicity, Disabilities, Religious background, Major, Clubs/Organizations, Military status, Parents military status.)

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation - Point to CBCF...Leadership Institute, Click on Scholarships.

Co-operative Learning College Scholarships - Discover scholarships offered by colleges with co-operative learning programs.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund - Click on Scholarships to see what is available.

FastWeb - Registration required.

FinAid - "The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid" Has rich offerings on everything from scam alerts to scholarship searches.

TheDream.US - multimillion dollar National Scholarship Fund for DREAMers (immigrant youth with DACA status)

Golden Door Scholars - Scholarships for DACA students at partner schools.  Fall application process.  (due in October)

Dream Educational Empowerment Program - advocacy and support  group for of undocumented immigrants.  Lots of links

United Negro College Fund -  Cick on Scholarships.  You may close the opening screen without "signing up."

Virginia Education Wizard - Your connection to post-secondary educational opportunities. Includes online test prep, paying or college, exploring colleges, planning for colleges, finding careers and a portfolio option. 

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