Getting scholarships to help fund your online degree program can be a great way to ease the financial burden of your education. Finding scholarships will require a bit of time and legwork, however, as scholarship requirements can sometimes be very narrowly defined. Scholarships are given for a number of reasons, including affiliation with certain groups, academic achievement, or special skills you possess such as athletic or artistic abilities. The first thing you should do is make a list of various aspects of your life that may help you qualify for scholarships. If you are a woman, of an ethnic minority, are a member of certain educational, social, or religious groups, or participate in community service projects, you may discover scholarships defined for these attributes.
Once you have taken a look at how you might approach your search, you are ready to begin looking for scholarships. The first thing you should do is check with the college or university where you will be studying to see if they have any scholarships available for which you can apply. In addition to your school, you can visit the public library to check out the scholarship resource books they have available. Ask your librarian for help in finding all the resources available there. Finally, you can use online searches to help you find scholarships tailored to your needs. These sites include FastAID and Fresch! where you can complete online forms to discover what scholarships might be available for you. Some of these sites may require registration, but most of them offer their services for no charge. You can also browse for scholarships on the Federal Student Aid website from the U.S. Department of Education. Don’t forget to pursue other avenues that may be specialized to your situation such as employee tuition reimbursement programs or through unions.
Devote plenty of time to your scholarship search to determine the best ones for you. Once you have selected the scholarships for which you wish to apply, you will need to pay close attention to the application deadlines and the required support for each. Many scholarships want transcripts, tax forms, your parents’ tax forms (if applicable), standardized test scores, essays, and letters of reference. You may also need forms such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA), which must be completed between January 1 and March 1. Applying for scholarships to fund your online degree program will take some time and effort. The more time you put into the process, though, the better results you can expect.