Education

10 Reasons Why Scholarships Are Important

Scholarships are a fantastic source of financial aid for college students. Scholarships, as opposed to loans, are free money. That means you won’t have to pay them back over time, which can alleviate financial stress and allow you to focus more on your studies. Indeed, according to Forbes, private scholarship recipients are more likely to graduate from college than those who only have student loans.

College scholarships are one of the best ways to reduce the debt burden of pursuing higher education. Financial aid and student loans are excellent sources of support. If you’re still on the fence about applying, consider these additional reasons to include scholarships in your financial aid strategy.

1. Scholarships minimize student debt

US News & World Report states that the average college graduate has approximately $30,000 in student loans. This represents a nearly 25% increase over a decade ago. Many of these student loans have high-interest rates, putting a significant financial burden on young professionals. The scholarship program, on the other hand, can help students afford college without any strings attached. As a result, scholarship recipients can pay off loans faster and start saving for the future with their extra income.

2. Scholarships can help fill the void left by public education funding cuts

Many public colleges and universities saw significant budget cuts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. When public schools’ funding is cut, the costs are usually passed on to the students. As a result, many students have noticed an increase in tuition fees and the rising cost of college in recent years. Fortunately, there are numerous scholarship opportunities available to help bridge the gap in public funding.

3. Scholarships can support equitable outcomes

Many scholarship opportunities now target communities that have historically had limited access to higher education. These include students from underserved communities of color and low-income families. Some of these scholarship programs provide funding for students to attend their preferred college. Others aim to assist underrepresented groups in specific fields of study. For example, the Palantir Women in Technology scholarship program recognizes deserving female-identifying students who intend to pursue careers in computer science, engineering, and related fields.

4. Scholarships can free up time for studying

For many students, working a side hustle during the school year is the only way to afford college tuition. Employment, whether federal work-study or a part-time off-campus job, can interfere with a student’s ability to focus on their studies. Scholarship recipients, on the other hand, are relieved of that burden. Having that time to concentrate on schoolwork can result in higher grades and allow students to complete their college degrees on time.

5. Scholarships can support student performance

Notebooks, tablets, laptops, and study materials can help you advance your education, but they are not always inexpensive. Fortunately, there are numerous scholarship programs available to assist college students in affording these extras. If you’re wondering what costs are and aren’t covered by scholarships, we’ve put together a guide.

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6. Scholarships can expand your network

Networking is an important part of achieving career success in a variety of fields. You’ve probably heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know” when it comes to getting a job. While many scholarships can help with the “what you know,” some can also help with the “who you know” part.

Many programs help scholarship recipients connect with mentors, conferences, and professional development opportunities. Professional membership groups like these can help young students learn about careers in their fields and make valuable industry connections. The American Chemical Society Scholars Program, for example, provides financial assistance as well as a professional network to underrepresented minority students interested in chemistry.

7. Scholarships can lead to future job opportunities

Many scholarship providers are for-profit corporations looking for the next generation of talented young professionals. These scholarships can help you find rewarding internships as well as mentors and industry insights. Some also offer opportunities for valuable work experience.

College juniors, for example, can apply for the Walt Disney UNCF Corporate Scholarship & Internship Program. This one-of-a-kind program awards scholarship recipients a $5,000 scholarship as well as a summer internship with the Walt Disney Corporation.

8. Scholarships can support social issues

While many scholarships are need-based or choose winners based on academic achievement, others place a greater emphasis on community service. A number of nonprofit scholarship providers are interested in learning about your community service, volunteer work, or the social issues you are passionate about addressing. The Feed Our Future Scholarship is one of these opportunities, which provides college scholarships to students who have volunteered for at least 100 hours to combat food insecurity.

9. Scholarships can allow you to continue a sport when athletic scholarships are unavailable

Athletic scholarships can be difficult to obtain. However, even at the club level, college athletics can be a fun way to stay active, make new friends, and get involved with your college or university.

Fortunately, there are numerous scholarship opportunities available to assist young athletes in pursuing their passion, regardless of whether they play on an official school team. The Sarah E. Huneycutt Scholarship is an excellent example of this type of scholarship. This $20,000 award is intended for female students who enjoy golf but do not have the opportunity to play at the collegiate level.

10. Scholarships are a great addition to your resume

Scholarship applications should not be filled out solely for financial reasons. Many merit-based scholarships are highly regarded. They require a high GPA, strong writing skills, and some level of academic achievement — all of which demonstrate your ability and academic prowess to potential employers. Scholarship recipients can add these awards to their resumes even after graduation to increase their appeal.

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