Are There Scholarships for Seniors Available? Posted byUnigo Staff February 2, 2022January 11, 2023 High school seniors may wish to take a closer look at available funds to help them cover the cost of their college education. It may be beneficial for students to start looking for scholarships early, even before they are seniors. Doing so may open the door for new opportunities to save. There are scholarships available to many seniors. The question is, though, how do you find them? High school seniors typically have a lot happening during that final year of school. They may have already applied for college (and may even be accepted). They may also be engaging in various tasks. Some have to take standardized tests. Others are wrapping up some of the many challenging classes they’ve taken in their high school careers. There are also celebrations, senior events, and lots of “final” moments in high school to treasure. It’s a busy time. However, it is still important to think about the future with all that is happening. That may mean investing some time in learning about financial aid options that may be available to you. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Scholarships are often one of the more desirable options when it comes to covering the cost of college. That’s because these are funds you do not have to pay back in many cases. That means it is money you may use to cover the cost of your education without having to pay out of pocket for expenses. For many people, that is a critical investment in time. There are numerous types of scholarships that may be available. Each is a bit different in several ways. Many of them have very specific guidelines and rules for individuals to follow. That includes rules for applying for the scholarship. Then, there are rules for how to use them and maintain them over time. Scholarships may also require re-application over time. High school seniors may wish to use their final year of school to create a plan for applying to these scholarship opportunities. Doing so may help to create a better way to cover the cost of their education in the long term. There’s much to know about these scholarships. Here are some tips and strategies to help you make the most of available high school senior scholarship opportunities. Learning about senior scholarships A good starting point for senior scholarships is to know what is available. There are various types of scholarships available, though many people may not qualify for all of them. It is wise to consider numerous types. Choose based on what you qualify for – and know there is no limit to the number you may apply for and obtain. There are several factors to keep in mind as you make these decisions. Merit-based scholarships Merit-based scholarships are one form. A student may qualify for them by meeting or exceeding the standards that are set for the scholarship. Keep in mind each organization that establishes a scholarship may set its own rules for them. That means there is a lot of difference from one program to the next. Each scholarship sets specific standards for those who may apply. In a merit-based program, this may be a combination of factors based on achievements or skills. There is a lot of range here. Here are a few examples: Academics: A student may be able to qualify based on their academic achievements. This could be in a very specific area of study (such as math or science) or it may be achieving an overall GPA that meets the scholarship’s goals.Talent: Some programs offer scholarships to students who have a very specific talent. This may happen for any type of talent, but it is commonly associated with things like the performing arts. Scholarships for special talents may help to continue a focus in that area (but that is not always the case). You may be able to qualify for a scholarship based on your specific traits and interests, too. There are many types of scholarships out there that are for very narrow skill sets. That may include things like hobbies you have or special interests in politics. Financial scholarships Another type of scholarship that may be available is a financial-based scholarship. This type of scholarship helps those who may have a financial need. That is defined, by Federal Student Aid, as a situation in which the difference between the cost of attendance at a college or university and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is high. Each school determines what the financial need levels are. Sometimes these vary significantly from one school to the next. Many people qualify for these types of scholarships. Often, they are accessible through the college or university directly. However, third-party organizations may offer them as well. People-specific scholarships It is also important to consider scholarships that may be best for a specific group of people. Remember that an organization that wishes to offer a scholarship may be able to set them up with very specific conditions. This allows groups to target those who they want to provide support for specifically. There are a lot of options here. For example, some scholarships are for those who are women. Women-based scholarships may be a way an organization wants to help women enter a specific field. It may help to encourage women to access educational opportunities in a field that is otherwise male-dominated. Another example is a scholarship for a person from a specific background or ethnicity. Some groups offer scholarships to people who have the same cultural or religious background they have. Others focus on heritage or geographic location where their ancestors came from. This may offer a wide range of opportunities for students. Others are meant for specific groups like military families. This type of scholarship may help a military family pay for the college costs of their child, no matter if that child goes into a military field. It often allows for a wide range of opportunities for them to choose their education and future goals. Industry-focused scholarships Yet another example of a type of scholarship a high school senior may want to pursue is one related to an industry they are interested in. For example, there are many STEM-specific educational programs available. There are organizations and companies within the cyber security field that offer scholarships to those who plan to study in this area. Programs like this exist for many educational paths such as engineering, public assistance, and computer science. Look to large organizations and companies within the field you plan to work in later. See if those organizations, professional groups, or companies offer scholarships to support students entering the field. It may be possible to get a scholarship from a parent’s employer. Sometimes they are available to a high school senior in the local community. For some students who are working in jobs now, scholarships may also be available from that employer to support their educational goals. Is free tuition offered to seniors? It is hard to say if free tuition is available to a high school senior to pay for their college costs. This is dependent on many factors. Here are some things to consider. Scholarship coverage: Some students may qualify to have all of their educational costs covered by their scholarship. These are some of the more lucrative of scholarships. If a student is awarded one, they may be able to use them to cover many of the costs of their education, making it possible to not pay tuition at all. The amount of any scholarship is dependent on the offer itself. Some students may qualify for numerous scholarships to help cover the costs of education in full. Keep in mind this is not always the case. Special programs: Another potential way to obtain tuition is by using one of the available programs available. These may not be specific scholarships but rather opportunities from third-party organizations to cover the cost of education for a student. These are typically hard to find, but when available, a student may be able to cover the cost of their education using these programs. Look for local programs, those offered by local groups and organizations, as well as other resources. College programs: There are some colleges in the U.S. that provide education to students for no cost. These schools use private funds and other resources to help cover the cost of tuition in full for some or all of their students. These programs are very limited, and only a few colleges in the U.S. offer this type of program. When available, they waive the cost of tuition for eligible students. Many of these schools have very high academic standards. They may also have stipulations on what students need to do for the school after they leave, such as providing financial support or coming back to teach. Financial need-based: Dependent on a person’s financial need, some may not have to pay tuition costs at all. Be sure to look into these programs from the school to determine the amount of financial support available. Different schools offer different types and levels of financial support for students. Is it possible to not pay for a college education? In some ways, it is. For a high school senior, that often means working hard to find available scholarships that may be able to facilitate this goal. Applying to numerous scholarships may help to increase the amount of opportunity for you to avoid paying for some or all of your school’s costs. Keep in mind that scholarships are available limitedly in many cases. Some offer just one scholarship to all of those who apply. Others offer scholarships to 10 or 20 people. The key thing to remember is that there is no limit to the number of scholarships a student is able to apply for, but there are limits to how much organizations offer. For that reason, applying heavily as a high school senior may be beneficial. Also consider grants Another way to cover the cost of a college education is through a grant. Like scholarships, a grant does not need repayment in many cases. That means a student may be able to obtain the grant and use it to pay off some or all of their educational costs. What is a college grant? Typically, a grant is a type of financial aid awarded to a student in college. It often does not require repayment. There are grants at various levels. In a bit, more detail about these opportunities is coming. For now, recognize that this may be one way to help cover the cost of your education in total, depending on what you qualify for from the provider. Details about scholarship awards for seniors There is a lot to know about scholarships and how they work. Take a look at some of the details of these scholarship offers and what to expect moving forward. Using scholarships for many needs Scholarship organizations outline the specifics to any offer they provide. Scholarship use, for example, may be very narrow and specific. For some scholarships, the funds may only apply to the cost of tuition itself. Others are available to use to cover tuition as well as the cost of books. Some of the more lucrative allow for the funds to be applied to tuition, books, and other college expenses and housing needs while away from home. Be sure to read the details of the scholarship to fully understand what it may be used for so there is no limitation on how helpful the scholarship is in the long term. How long are scholarships good for? Some scholarships are a one-time offer. For example, a scholarship may offer $1,000 to cover the cost of tuition. That may be just for the first year or school. Others last longer. They may be applied every year to the cost of tuition. This is an important difference to understand when applying for scholarships – you need to know what to expect throughout the college years. Some programs require students to meet specific goals or maintain a specific GPA during their college years to maintain the scholarship year after year. Others require re-application each year. It is critical for people to pay close attention to all terms of the scholarship to fully understand what to expect from them. Is it possible to lose a scholarship? Yes, and this is a very important detail that students need to understand before they apply for the scholarship itself. It is possible to lose a scholarship in several ways. Often, these scholarships have very specific terms and conditions. The student needs to maintain those expectations to maintain the scholarship. If they do not do so, that could lead to a loss of the scholarship. Other rules may apply as well, such as based on behavior, program enrollment, and dropping out of full-time status. Where may I find senior scholarships? High school seniors may be able to find scholarships in a number of locations. It is worth exploring multiple locations to find options, too. A good place to start is Unigo. You are likely to find a wide range of scholarships available for high school seniors to apply to on the site. It is an excellent tool because it provides access to a wide range of scholarships from multiple locations – all in one place that is easy to navigate and search through. For those who are looking for scholarships they meet the qualifications for, these tools make it rather simple to find what is available. Many organizations list their scholarships in this one, single resource to make it possible to reach a large audience of potential applicants. There are other places to consider, too. Here are a few suggestions of where to get started looking for available scholarships for high school seniors. The school itself: After receiving an acceptance to the school, it may be possible to set up a time with the financial aid team or counselors. They may be able to provide access to available college or career school scholarships. These may be scholarships provided by the school but also ones available within the community or to eligible students.High school counselor: High school counselors may recognize the need and benefit to help students find scholarships to fit their needs as well. It is a good idea to set up some time with the counselor at the school to discuss options and gain access to information available to them. Sometimes, local programs and opportunities may help students from that school or the local area to obtain financial support. Counselors may know about these. They may also be able to help students do well when applying for those scholarships.Local organizations: For those who are a member of a local organization, seek out support and guidance from them about available scholarships. For example, there may be a foundation or organization that the student is a member of or worked through in the past. It may be possible to turn to community organizations as well as religious organizations to learn more about available scholarships.Professional associations: Students planning to study in a specific area may wish to turn to a local professional association for more support and guidance. It may be possible to find options in an area of interest, such as science, computer technology, or nursing, for example. Look to professional organizations that oversee or support innovation in these programs for potential access to scholarships.Employers: Some employers offer scholarships to those who work with them, even if they worked during their high school years. Another option is to consider a parent’s employer and whether they offer scholarship options for students.Federal resources: There are some federal agencies that may provide financial aid and scholarships. These are some outstanding resources when they are available. It is a good idea to look into these programs carefully to find out if you qualify. This includes other avenues for paying for colleges, such as work-study jobs, loans, scholarships, and grants. Check out the options for military families as well as other resources. Federal Student Aid provides a list of these options for students. State and Federal grants for education for seniors Grants are another potential way to pay for a college education. Many students qualify for grants but may not always know about their availability of what they may offer to the student. Grants are similar to scholarships. However, they are typically for need-based situations. That means that students may not qualify for them in all situations. There are several types of grants available for students. These are typically awarded to students based on their family’s economic situation. To find out what you may qualify for, high school seniors may need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Doing so determines the Expected Family Contribution for the student. This helps the school you selected to determine how much aid you are eligible to receive. There are some types of merit-based ranges that may be given to students who have high academic levels of education and sometimes for leadership skills, community service, or other commitments they have. To obtain access to college grants, start by filling out the FAFSA, so you know where you stand. If you submit this on time, the college or university may be able to help you find out if you qualify for the programs currently available. Some specific grants to consider include Federal Pell Grants, which are typically for undergraduate students, and TEACH grants, which are typically for those who plan to teach in a high-need field for four years after graduating. Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants are another area. These help low-income undergrad students get the support they need to pay for college. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are another example. These are available to students who have a parent or guidance that died as a result of military service after September 11, 2001. Lower college costs with these tips Many people benefit from having a bit of help reducing the costs of college. These tips may help you to do that. Start with the FAFSA. It is one of the tools available to help you not just find grants and scholarships but also to help you jumpstart getting financial aid from your college or university. Many need the information on these documents to make decisions on tuition costs for you.Talk to employers and family friends. Open the door to discuss your goals for your education and your career. Often, people you know may have insight into available programs that may help you reduce your educational costs.Work to complete applications over time. Getting started as a high school senior is a solid decision for many students. That’s because there are many scholarship opportunities, and some of them take a bit of extra work. That may include creating customized essays. Be sure to provide enough time to yourself for completing these steps.Ask for the funds you need. If awarded a scholarship, reach out to the organization to find out if they may be willing to give you more to cover more of your costs.Avoid waiting too long to apply. You may not benefit from being the last one to apply. Scholarships are available to seniors. They may be one of the tools available to students in a wide range of paths.