What are Private College Scholarships?

Private Scholarships

Private College Scholarships. What are they, and how are they different then the scholarships we discussing in the previous posts?

There are two types of main scholarships out there. One is private and the other is institutional. The scholarships offered and featured on the college scholarships search sites that we looked at are private.

BORING DEFINITION ALERT: Per scholarshipowl.com, Private College Scholarships are financial aid awards funded by companies, service groups, foundations, organizations, and individuals.

Private Scholarships or Institutional Scholarships?

The site then goes on to say if Private Scholarships are better than intuitional scholarships? They are not better or worse, they are just different. Remember the key is to look for all types of scholarships that are applicable to you and apply for them all!! For some reason we are conditioned to put all of our eggs in one basket and when that doesn’t work we view the attempt as a failure. Internally it messes with us and then inaction occurs. It’s a nasty vortex.

So have you ever heard for the phrase “full ride scholarship?” Private ones do exist but they are rare. So more than likely not going to happen with a private scholarship. The places that are offering the scholarship are limited to funding. Again we put lots of hope into the potential for a “full ride” not realizing that our methodology may be off.

Private Scholarships You Can Apply For!

In September of 2018, US news but out an article titles 11 Private Scholarships that will help you pay for college. There ones here that I haven’t even heard of are in my professional experience which goes to show you that they are out there. You just need to dig around a little. Now on the podcast episode I went ahead and talked about a couple of them but let’s look at all 11 Private Scholarships.

National Merit Scholarship Program

7,500 high school seniors receive some level of an award based on their PSAT scores and additional criteria.

Coco-Cola Scholarship Program

Scholarships of $20,000 per person are awarded. And per this article it’s awarded to 150 students based on their academic merits, leadership skills and service.

Society of Women Engineers Scholarships

Variety of award given to support women’s interest in careers in engineering and computer science. Engineering is all the rage now and for someone with two daughters this sparked my interest.

Dell Scholars Program

Another $20,000 scholarship along with a laptop (Dell I’m assuming) and credits for textbooks. It’s more directed to low-income students.

Google Scholarships

Yes Google!!! They offer specific scholarships for women, minorities, and students with disabilities.

UNCF Scholarships

Geared towards African-American students and more than 10,000 students get selected for these scholarships that are helping them get ready for a career in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.

ELKS National Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship

500 high school seniors will be awarded four-year scholarships. These are based on leadership and financial need. Most receive close $4,000 each. While the finalist will receive between $20,000-$50,000 total. That is pretty impressive!!!

Cooke College Scholarship Program

Up to $40,000 per year awarded to high-achieving high school students with a financial need and selected by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

Boren Scholarships

Planning to pursue a career in national security? Wanting to study the “less commonly taught” language such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Swahili? The award is between $8,000-$20,000 to study abroad.

James Beard Foundation National Scholars Program

I must be honest. I thought this said James Bond! Anyway, ten candidates receive $20,000 to pursue the culinary arts, agriculture, etc.

How Do They Work?

You don’t have to repay Private Scholarships. In my past experience there is usually a minimum GPA required along with a certain number of credits per semester requirement. I remember a certain student that I assisted and they had a massive private scholarship. Every semester I had to complete a verification form and submit it to the company issuing the scholarship.  Now the process might have been a little slow but I tell you what, the student was stress-free on the financial side and was just able to focus on their studies.

Private Scholarships are not Private Loans

Private Scholarships are not to be confused with Private Loans. Private Student Loans will be covered in another post. But quickly, Private Student Loans will need to be repaid in full and there is an interest rate tied to that. They are based and awarded on credit-worthiness. Again, this is another post but I just wanted to ensure that everyone knows the difference.

Myths about Private Scholarships

In my research I have stumbled upon a site called My Kids College Choice. They have neat article from last year about the common myths about private scholarships.

You can check out the myths in fuller detail there however, let’s look at them and I’ll provide what they mean to me and any professional experience I may have in relation to them.

Myth # 1 – This Scholarships Seem Competitive

Some of the bigger scholarships such as the Coca-Cola one is hefty. It’s large and it’s competitive. However, apply to all of them. Now larger scale scholarships backed by big companies are going to be more visible to potential applicants. Again, your strategy must consist of applying to all especially those smaller ones.

Myth # 2 – I’m Busy and It’s not summer

Yes most open their applications in the summer but being busy is not a reason. It’s an excuse!!! You’ve done all your research as a parent (or student), you’ve found scholarships to apply for and then no action is taken? That doesn’t make sense. This stuff (the paying for college) can keep you up all night. Please take this seriously and dedicate the time into it.

Myth # 3 – Most have a financial need requirement

I’ve talked to many students and parents throughout my career and when they see that there is some sort of financial need requirement, they automatically feel that they are not eligible therefore they shouldn’t (and don’t) apply. The borrowing of money can be considered as a need, so this isn’t just strictly based on the Expected Family Contribution number that is generated by the FAFSA. Now some scholarships may state it on the fine print so please ensure that you read it carefully.

Myth # 4 – Don’t private scholarships reduce my child’s other award?

So this is more of a complex explanation. We should understand what things such as excess funds and total cost of attendance mean. However, please note that if the school tries to reduce and take away awards there should be an appeal process that you can do in an attempt to reverse the decision.

Helpful Tip

For those parents reading and students reading that are still in High School, go to the guidance office. High School counselors should have a list of local scholarships. These local scholarships attract a small pool but that to me just means they will be easier to win.

A Daunting Task

It’s a lot I know. I really feel that the more we become organized and have a plan of action it’s going to be easier to attack. I use words such as attack because I think this is how we have to approach this. I remember having this one student that applied to over 50 different scholarships. Some she received, some she didn’t but she was able to sleep at peace at night because she knew she made an effort.

When we get overwhelmed (and we will) think about our foundation for motivation.

For Parents we think about  

  • Setting up our child for success
  • Not having them be “elbow-deep” in student loan debt
  • Avoid depletion of savings and retirement accounts
  • Strike the balance between helping and giving responsibility to our children

As Students we think about

  • How I will repay these loans back?
  • Why do I have to take out loans?
  • I wish my parents would help me more
  • I prefer not to work and go to school at the same time
  • The scholarship application process requires a lot of time and work

Private Scholarships: Conclusion

So there we have it. That is the gist of Private College Scholarships. It’s important in all of this to understand what each of these mean this way we arm ourselves with knowledge and that will help immensely in our quest to decrease the ever growing tuition of higher education.

Keep in mind we will eventually be covering grants, prepaid plans, federal work study, and many many more topics.

Tuition Drop Podcast

Below is the podcast episode that coincides with this post. Feel free to listen at any time.

Tuition Drop Podcast – What are Private College Scholarships?
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