Ivylee Rosario – News Reporter –
Imagine if there was a way students could reduce their tuition bill just by merely filling out an application; well there is a way and they are called scholarships.
There are a multitude of different types of scholarships based on all different criteria including G.P.A., ethnicity, what state a student lives in, major, or even gender.
“At the financial aid office, we provide different ways for students to find out about scholarship opportunities,” said Gloria Lee, director of Financial Aid.
Southern sends out emails to students providing information on deadlines for scholarships and how to apply for some that might suite each individual student.
Scholarships are offered through many sources including websites, libraries, and even some department stores. The financial aid department at Southern offer help to all students by offering counselors for each student in alphabetical order.
“Although we place them by alphabetical order, students are allowed to come into our offices at any time and meet with any counselor that is available,” said James Blake, Executive Vice President. “If there are any issues a student might have or questions, we have a walk in policy so they can drop by without an appointment.”
Scholarships usually last throughout an entire academic year and can range anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Southern’s financial aid web page has a section specifically made for scholarships in which there is a list of different ones provided by outside agencies. These agencies send their information to the financial aid department and they display it on the Southern page for students to gain access. Southern also offers scholarships through their alumni office.
“We send out letters to students, post on bulletin boards around our office and around campus,” said Lee. “I even ordered minority scholarship books for students. They cover Asian Americans, Latin Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans.”
The financial aid department recommends students research different types of scholarships and ask around for ones being offered around their towns or places they visit. Students should apply for as many as possible to reduce their loan debt when they get out of college, said Lee.
There are even specific websites that help a student search for scholarships, such as fastweb.com. There, a student can set up their own profile and get emails of updated scholarships in the database.
Although Southern recommends applying to scholarships everywhere, students also must be wary of scams that present themselves as well. Scholarship websites and applications should never charge students to search, so if a student stumbles on sites like these, they should move on because it is a scam.
“I never knew there could be scams related to scholarships, I guess because it is school related, some students would trust it,” said Amanda Rivera, 19. “I’m glad I know about that because I am always searching for different scholarships to apply to.”
Scholarships are the perfect way to reduce tuition costs for students as well as reduce the amount of debt they will have after graduating college due to student loans. Students should always search for the opportunity to receive scholarships and there are several ways of getting help during the process.
“We encourage all students to come to the office,” said Lee, “and we will sit down with them and show them which ones they could be eligible for and how to search by different criteria.”