Getting a college degree is an expensive endeavor, and lack of funds keeps many high school graduates away from campus. Some of these graduates take risks and enroll in universities using student loans. However, the odds are against them too. According to federal data published by U.S. News & World Report, 3.9 million students dropped out of college with debt in 2015 and 2016. If you missed going to college directly after graduating from high school, earning a scholarship to an online school may be the most cost-effective, flexible solution that you need for career success.
How to Find a Scholarship for an Online School
Free money in the form of a scholarship or two is available for online students who qualify. These funds are usually found through the same outlets that sponsor grants for traditional colleges and universities. Make a list of the online schools that are of interest to you. Check with their admissions counselors to find out if the schools offer scholarship funds to incoming students.
Showing off your talents is another way to finance a debt-free degree at an online university. Whether you’ve mastered knitting or playing chess, there’s likely a generous, like-minded individual or group who has funded a scholarship for someone like you.
It’s All About The Connections
Remember the charity that you volunteered hundreds of hours for your senior project? Your good deeds could pave the way to some financial assistance when it comes to your online education. Many charities offer scholarships to worthy high school graduates. Your time spent working at a specific charity allows its members to get to know your character. You have an advantage over someone else who doesn’t know the charity’s staff members personally.
If you know your area of study, it’s a great idea to look for scholarship money with professional associations. Professional and trade associations often have members from across the nation. If you are getting and online Business Degree, for example, there are scholarships just for that. Members of these organizations pay dues to gain access to resources that pertain to their industry. Most of these organizations have similar missions to invest in their industries’ future by awarding scholarship money to college-bound students.
Types of Free Money Available for Online Universities
Some of the most popular online universities offer scholarship money to their students. Arizona State University Online, Colorado State University-Global Campus, and Colorado Technical University give merit-based financial awards to students who are enrolled in their academic programs.
The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) is an example of a professional organization that offers scholarship funds to students who want to pursue degree programs in human resource management. You can get up to $2,500 in financial assistance while you pursue an undergraduate degree in human resources. SHRM also awards graduate students up to $5,000 to pay for tuition at online schools for a master’s degree in human resources.
You Can Always Pray for the Funds
Some churches are just like family. They are so proud of college-bound high school seniors, and many set aside funds to pay for tuition for students who attend the church or who have family members who attend.
The faith-based community is a hidden treasure for scholarship seekers. Popular schools such as Liberty University are notably generous with scholarship funds for its online and campus students. Also, Christian Connector Incorporated is a private organization that offers scholarship awards to Christian students who want to attend online or traditional Christian colleges or universities. The organization allows students to fill out one application and access scholarship funds for over 80 schools.
When to Begin Your Search for a Scholarship for Your Online School
You should begin your search for scholarship money for your online education as soon as possible. You’ll find that each scholarship has different requirements and application deadlines. You can apply for some financial awards early, but others require final grade averages and other qualifying documents that you might not have until after you graduate.
GetEducated is a private organization that awards grants to students twice a year. You can use the funding to attend any accredited online school, and the deadlines for application submission are October 15 and March 15.
Qualifying for an Online School Scholarship
While there are a variety of scholarship awards that fit different personal and professional interests, all grant sponsors seem to have at least one thing in common. They all want you to display academic excellence and passion for your area of study. These three things often give them an idea of how you measure up to other applicants.
- Letters of recommendation
It’s common for scholarship donors to ask for the latest copy of your academic transcripts during the application process. Many of them request that you write a short essay about your hobby or area of academic interest to gauge your passion for the subject and your communication skills. Character counts for many scholarship donors. These organizations want to see letters of recommendation from your managers, former teachers, or pastor.
Hidden Benefits of Earning an Online School Scholarship
The statistic of 3.9 million students dropping out of school with debt is pretty discouraging. However, earning a scholarship to an online school can help you in more ways than one. Many scholarship awards are ongoing and based on continued academic excellence. Scholarship winners aim for high grades to keep their funding; above-average grades pave the way to successful degree completion.
When students win scholarship awards from private organizations, they gain recognition for their achievements. These monetary awards look great on resumes. They also open doors for networking opportunities with seasoned industry professionals.
Public and private organizations give away scholarships to students based on many different requirements. Since online degree holders are now well received by employers in industry and in the public sector, it’s easier for you to find a scholarship to pay for tuition at an online college or university. While searching for scholarship money takes time, the resulting low-debt degree is well worth the effort.