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  • Writer's pictureJeff Boron

What Can a Scholarship Pay For?

Well, we're down to only three weeks left for students to apply for the 2024 Young Achievers Scholarship! If your kid hasn't applied yet, there's still time! The scholarship is open for Young* Achievers, who will graduate in 2025, 2026, or 2027. Each year we award three winners with $1,000 to help pay for school. Of course, we understand that $1,000 doesn't cover the whole bill for college, but it can certainly help any student who will be attending college!

Today on the blog we wanted to help students and families of WNY better understand how scholarships help, and what they can help to pay for when attending college.

What Is a Scholarship?

First off, what even is a scholarship? Scholarships are financial aid awards designed to pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree. Sometimes they come in a one-time check, or they may be renewable to help a student each semester or school year. They DO NOT have to be paid back. This is where they differ from other forms of financial aid that require repayment.

Private scholarships make up about 10% of all financial aid. People often assume that private scholarships make up the highest source of school money, but they're actually among the smallest sources. Federal and State loans, grants, and grants and scholarships from schools make up the other 90% of financial aid.

How Can Scholarship Money Be Spent?

Students will receive a scholarship either directly, as a check in their name, or the money is given to the student's school. In cases where the money is given to the school, the student would pay the difference for any money that is still owed, for things like tuition, fees, room and board.

When the scholarship is paid directly to the student, they are free to use the money for whatever they need, but it's best to have an open line of communication with whatever organization is writing the check on what it will be used for.

Some scholarships will require documentation to write the check or send the check to the school. Scholarships awarded to the student should always be used for school expenses, not Bills tickets or a new video game console.

Costs of Going to College Beyond Tuition

.Beyond room and board, tuition, and other "big ticket" items that are associated with college, you should also consider other ancillary costs. You can take the scholarship and use it to pay for any of the big ticket items, but also think about the following:

  • Laptop/Computer- You will probably want to invest in this for being able to take notes, complete assignments, study, check your email, etc. Unless you want to do everything on a library computer.

  • Textbooks- Depending on what source you look at, college students can expect to pay between $450-$625 a semester for books, so somewhere around $1000 a year JUST ON BOOKS.

  • Groceries & On-Campus Dining- Whether you're living on campus or off, you'll need to eat. Meal plans and on-campus dining is sometimes set up through the school, but in some cases, you can usually use a scholarship to help cover these costs. A campus meal plan averages around $450 per month, and college students spend an average of $410 a month eating off-campus

When to apply for Scholarships

It's never too early to start researching and applying for scholarships! There are plenty of scholarships available to students in their junior and senior years of high school, but some (like the Young Achievers!) are also available and open for younger students. When you do start your search, you should mark down a calendar of when the deadlines for each one are so you can get in as many applications as possible!

Don't be discouraged if you don't win your first one, as there are plenty of them to try for. You've got a shot, and if one scholarship has say, a 1/500 chance, another may have a 1/1000 chance, but another may have a 1/25 chance! The bottom line is, if you don't apply, you have a 0% chance of winning!


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