If your child is already in college and is considering transferring, it's important to know whether the financial aid package will transfer too. In most cases, it won't. Your child will need to apply for financial aid all over again. You might be able to ease the transition with a guaranteed scholarship offered for transfer students. Often these awards are based on the student's performance at the previous college.
Do you remember that weekend during your child's junior year when he or she got up early to take the PSAT? You may have thought it was just a practice run for the SAT, but it had another purpose—establishing eligibility to win a National Merit Scholarship. If your child scored high enough on the PSAT, he or she was named a National Merit Commended Scholar or Semifinalist. While this is an impressive honor, it does not come with any money. However, doing extremely well on the PSAT brings an invitation to compete for a National Merit Scholarship. Each year, approximately 50,000 students are honored as Commended Scholars or Semifinalists. Of those, approximately 15,000 go on to become National Merit Scholars, with approximately 8,200 of these receiving a $2,500 award.
Even Commended Scholar or Semifinalist status may qualify your child for some extra scholarship dollars. Texas A&M University offers the Merit Plus Scholarship, a $2,000 award for National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists. In addition, these students may compete for Texas A&M's academic scholarships, which are worth an additional $10,000–$12,000 a year. If your child achieves any level of National Merit distinction, notify the college. He or she may be eligible for a scholarship.
Would you like to see your child's scholarship money doubled? Ask the financial aid office if the college has a policy of matching grants. This means that the college will match outside scholarships dollar for dollar. For example, a matched $1,000 scholarship from the Lions Club turns into a $2,000 award. Most colleges set limits on how much they will match, but it is worth the effort to ask the financial aid office if the school is willing to match outside awards.
If your child is attending your alma mater, he or she may qualify for a scholarship. College alumni associations often sponsor scholarship competitions for the children of members, although it is never a sure thing that any one student will win. Today, however, some colleges have guaranteed scholarships that reward second-generation students. A few colleges go one step further and give money to the grandchildren of alumni. If your child intends to continue a family tradition, be sure to inquire about any awards that will help fund this legacy.
Gen and Kelly Tanabe
Founders of SuperCollege and authors of 13 books on college planning.
By: Gen & Kelly Tanabe
Need money for college? Stressed over how to pay the next tuition bill? Searching for a way to get a degree without going broke? Whether you need a full-tuition scholarship or a little extra cash to make ends meet, 1001 Ways to Pay for College provides students and parents with the answers.
By: Gen & Kelly Tanabe
The goal of The Ultimate Scholarship Book is simple: To help you find free money. Inside you'll find the most up-to-date and comprehensive listing of more than 1.5 million awards. An easy-to-use index makes finding the right scholarships ridiculously quick. And it wouldn't be the Ultimate book without a section of little known insider tips and strategies that show you how to actually win the scholarships you find!