5 Things the Department of Education Wants You to Know About Scholarships

The Federal Government Offers Tips on Achieving Scholarship Success

With the presidential elections coming up in November, the role of government in our everyday lives is being hotly debated. Is there too much or not enough? What benefits do ordinary citizens receive from the taxes they pay? While it might seem that the government is nothing but a huge bureaucracy at times, it can also be a substantial source of unbiased information at other times.

This is especially true at Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education.

FSA’s website is filled to the brim with information on college-related topics like completing the FAFSA, qualifying for grants, and applying for student loans. But many parents, high school students and college students don’t think about turning to the government for information on scholarships. This is unfortunate since the FSA website has a wealth of advice on finding and applying for scholarships. For example, here are five things the Department of Education wants you to know about scholarships:


  1. What are scholarships: Scholarships are gifts, so they do not need to be repaid. Their purpose is to help cover some of the costs of receiving a college education. They are offered by colleges, private companies, employers, non-profit organizations, community groups, religious denominations, professional and social organizations, and even some individuals.
  2. How to find scholarships: Scholarships are everywhere, and you will build up some good resources you can return to time after time once you start to search for them. Suggested places to start include your college’s financial aid office, the U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool, federal agencies and state grant agencies. It can be helpful to search online, but remember that you should not have to pay online resources to assist in this effort. FSA also has some great tips about avoiding scholarship scams.
  1. When to find scholarships: Students can actually search for scholarships at any time, starting in high school and running right through the college years. Never think that there is a specific “scholarship season.” While it is true that many scholarships have deadlines in the late fall, there are equally as many with spring and late summer deadlines. For example, R&D Systems has a deadline of July 8, 2016 for its $1500 award that is earmarked for students majoring in a science-related field. The Petkey Scholarship has a July 22, 2016 deadline for its $500 scholarships geared at pet lovers.
  1. How scholarships are paid: How you receive any money you win depends on the scholarship itself. Many scholarships awarded as part of your financial aid package will be sent directly to your college and applied to your tuition, with any leftover funds being sent on to you. Other scholarships may send the money directly to you with the expectation that it will be used to cover college expenses.
  2. Scholarships’ effect on financial aid: Scholarships are considered part of your financial aid package, and the total amount of your financial aid package cannot exceed the total cost of attendance selected college. If you receive a large scholarship, the school may subtract that amount from other financial aid you receive such as grants or student loans.


See, the government isn’t always all bad - sometimes it can be quite helpful! If you are looking for information on any topics related to paying for college, completing the FAFSA, or finding scholarships, always start with reputable sources like FSA or your college, and you’ll get quality results.