Lauren Kurty, Staff Writer:
Students needing money for college is common knowledge, however at times new students are unaware of the scholarships that are available for them at their school.
Lewis DeLuca Jr., associate director at the office of financial aid and scholarships, said that there are three scholarships that new students can apply for that are merit based: the honor scholarship, the trustee scholarship which is done by admissions, and the athletic scholarship.
DeLuca made it clear that new students applying to Southern are unaware of the fact that there many scholarships offered to help them pay for their college career and that they are not taking full advantage of them.
“Not as well as they should be,” he said.
Standing up from his chair, DeLuca pointed out the scholarship board in the Wintergreen Building noting that students are free to check the board as well as the Southern website for scholarships and that some only come randomly.
“[“The] university does a better job of publicizing them,” he said.
The dependence on free money is a reality for students especially in the recession that everyone is in. It’s realistic to think that the amount of scholarships and how much money they are willing to give out, this is not the case according to DeLuca.
“I haven’t seen numbers decrease, they’ve increased,” he said. “We haven’t decreased in scholarships.”
DeLuca was insistent on saying that there scholarships not only at boards at Southern, but also on the school website there are links on the financial aid section where students can find all information necessary.
Different types of criteria that places look at include: need, merit, the essay to decide who gets the money. The companies that provide the money for students to attend college depend on these factors when deciding who is worthy of getting the assistance.
“It depends, honor, trust, athletic [are] merit,” he said. “Alumni, some need and some not.”
“Each scholarship provider is looking for different skills or interests,” according to Scholorships.com. “A winner must meet all of the standard criteria required for the scholarship but also distinguish himself from the rest of the applicants. Read about the scholarship and try to determine what exactly the scholarship provider is looking for so that you can emphasize your related qualities in you essay or cover letter.”
What is important to understand about scholarships is that they are exactly that, free money, money that students don’t have to pay back.
“On campus, free money makes a difference,” DeLuca said. “Some [are] renewable; some [are only for] first year students.”
Availability of scholarships is an issue for Southern students such as, Danielle Beaupre, a junior, liberal studies sociology and media studies major, she said that when it comes to financial aid some students need their parents to help them.
“A lot of kids can’t file aid independently, kids need to be aware,” she said.
It’s all about knowing where to look when it comes to getting the money that students need, for Beaupre who has never received a scholarship or applied for one her problem she doesn’t know where they are.
“I really don’t know where to look,” she said. “My advisor didn’t tell me where to look.”
Being a freshman, Amber Gwiazdowski a nursing major, echoed what Beaupre said, noting that she doesn’t know where to go looking for scholarships and because of this she clearly hasn’t received one or applied for one.
The number of scholarships varies depending on the school that students are attending as well as availability. However, the truth is that companies have this money that they need to give out but students don’t want to spend the time looking to hard, Gwiazdowski wants there to be more scholarships with easier access to them.
Students often know their major before them come to a new school, however many scholarships are not dependent on a certain major, many lump everyone in the same category and this is not what students want.
“Each major should have their own scholarships,” Beaupre said. “When you apply to be a certain major, there should be certain scholarships available.”
Gwiazdowski was worried that if and when she applies for a scholarship she would have to fight with others in all other majors for the money that would possibly be available for her college career.
“Dependent on major,” she said. “You don’t have to compete with everyone else.”
Scholarships need to be applied for in by a certain deadline and often these dates sneak up on students and often they pass them by which means that the free money is just going to waste.
According to Scholorships.com “according to the National Scholarship Database, nearly 60 percent of scholarship deadlines fall between the months of February and April. Therefore, students should begin applying at least a few months prior to this, preferably sometime between September and December.”
Free money for simply filling meeting the criteria may seem suspicious for some to wrap their head around, however looking at and filling out scholarship information can be very easy and most importantly it should always be no cost to the student.
“Scholarships are an excellent way to fill the gap between your need and the college financing package. However, financial aid from all sources may not exceed the calculated cost of education,” according to Scholarshiphelp.org.
Room, Tuition, Books – these are all real things that students need money for. With the help of scholarships they will hopefully be able to pay their way through college, if students just knew where to look.