Much is known about grants and scholarships in general. Their existence has been much documented over the years and everybody who has ever known anyone who has been to university or college in the recent past will know the rudimentary basics, but there is a lot more to scholarships and grants than meets the eye. There are fundamental questions that should be asked of every single scholarship before anyone wanting to go to college even applies for them because those questions often determine which ones are the best ones for you. If you ask the questions below then you will not go far wrong!
How long will my scholarship last for?
This is a question that needs to be asked of every scholarship purely and simply because every scholarship is different. Some may only last for a year, others last for two and a few will last for the duration of your degree course. If you are counting on funding for the duration of your degree then you will need to ensure that the scholarships you apply for actually fulfil that want or need, whichever category that falls into. It may be that you need to contact the provider of the scholarship to check this detail because it may not be publicised in the literature that you receive.
What does my scholarship encompass?
Again, this answer all depends on the individual scholarship. Most scholarships tend to be full scholarships so they encompass tuition and housing. The grants you can apply for usually only cover one aspect or another. In fact, that is not always the case. Some only designate a set amount of money for books or similar materials. You need to make sure that you know exactly what you will be applying for and what your scholarship or grant will be paying for because it does drastically vary. Certain scholarships actually designate a certain amount for you rather than covering a certain aspect of your study. For example, one school-based scholarship offers between $10,000 and $3000, depending on the nature of the award.
Where will my financial aid check go?
The majority of financial aid check will not go to you, but instead head straight to your school. The checks need to be payable to the college you will be attending because they are then used against costs, such as tuition and housing. If so much of a scholarship is towards living costs and has covered the rent then you may have that back, but the rest will go into your account at the college. There are very few exceptions to this rule. However, you may need to contact your college before applying to see what their procedure is.
What are the requirements I must meet in order to maintain my scholarship?
If you have been awarded a scholarship then you will almost certainly be awarded it on a conditional basis. You would usually have to maintain a certain GPA in order to qualify, although that sometimes translates into certain subjects or classes rather than overall. Different bodies and colleges set different targets for the students that they have awarded money to, but this should be in the literature for you to read before you accept the offer. Every scholarship is conditional, but it is up to ascertain what those conditions are.
Can I hold more than one scholarship at the same time?
That all depend on the terms and conditions of the scholarships as set by the body that administers the individual ones. The general rule is that you cannot hold more than one scholarship, but this is slightly different with grants. If you are awarded help from several bodies then you can take it, as long as you inform all sources that you hold more than one because this may affect their assessment. For example, you can hold a college and a federal hardship grant and you cannot have one without the other, but you do have to inform both parties of the help you are getting!