Erin Korsvall, vice president of The Sallie Mae Fund, reminds students that, to qualify for a scholarship, they must take the first step and apply. "Don't miss out on scholarships by not applying. Get organized, note key deadlines, and give yourself plenty of time to find scholarships, request applications, complete them, and submit them. This free money will be well worth your time and energy."
The Sallie Mae Fund offers students tips for finding free money for college:
- Don't rule yourself out. Scholarships are not limited to class valedictorians and star athletes. They are awarded based on a number of factors—from your career goals to exceptional writing skills displayed in an essay contest.
- Apply for as many awards as you qualify for. Even small awards can be helpful in covering costs, such as books.
- Pay close attention to deadlines. Missing a deadline is a sure way to become disqualified.
- Look for scholarships offered by a variety of sources, including companies, unions, foundations, community organizations, churches and more.
- Tell family, friends, teachers and others in your community that you are looking for scholarships. They may know something you do not.
- Understand the conditions of an award—such as maintaining a specific GPA or participating on an athletic team.
- Make use of free scholarship directories and searches offered by reputable organizations, such as The Sallie Mae Fund.
- Watch for scholarship scams. You should never have to pay for scholarship advice or information.
- If you receive a scholarship, be sure to write a thank-you note to the organization. You may want to reapply for the scholarship in the future so it is important to make a good impression.
The Sallie Mae Fund's scholarships include the "American Dream" scholarship program for African American students (deadline April 15), the "First In My Family" scholarship program for Hispanic-American students (deadline April 15), the "Unmet Need" scholarship fund for families with combined incomes below $30,000 (deadline May 31), and the Sallie Mae 911 Fund for children of those who were killed or permanently disabled in the September 11th terrorist attacks (deadline ongoing).