Applying for Scholarships for State Universities

By Dawn Marcotte , last updated November 21, 2011

Applying for scholarships with State Universities is a great way to reduce the financial burden of attending college. Most students will need a combination of financial instruments to pay for their college education including grants, scholarships, work study and loans. Applying for scholarships is just the first step.

Applying for Government Financial Aid
There are a dizzying array of grants and scholarships available to students attending a state university. Each university has its own scholarships, grants and financial aid programs. Students should first read the college application carefully and indicate they are interested in financial aid directly on this form. This may provide some funding automatically depending on the students’ academic history and test scores. Many state colleges provide a few hundred dollars automatically to students with high GPA and entrance exam scores. This will also alert the college that the student may be interested in any additional financial aid they have available.
The second step is to complete a Federal Student Financial Aid application either online or on a hard copy form. State universities will require this application to be completed to be considered for scholarships and grants through the university because it provides all of the necessary information in one location. The application itself will require financial information, ethnic information and educational information in an attempt to match the student with scholarships and grants for which they are most eligible. Follow the directions on the FAFSA website completely and check back frequently to stay current on any new scholarships or grants that become available.
Finding Additional Tuition Assistance
Once these two steps have been completed, it is a good idea to research additional scholarships and grants for the specific university being attended. Contact the financial aid office for the specific state university being attended. Many universities administer and monitor scholarships from multiple sources. They will have a complete list of scholarships currently available and the qualifications for those scholarships. For example, there are often many scholarships for incoming freshmen, but fewer for graduate students. Check back with the financial aid office frequently to see if there are any new scholarships or grants available. If the school has a program that notifies students of all new financial aid opportunities, take advantage of this option. Also, check their website frequently. Sometimes the first person to apply is the person who gets the money.
State universities also have many organizations on campus that may have access to scholarship and grant money. Contact organizations on campus such as fraternities, sororities, service organizations or special interest groups. These organizations often have scholarships and grants available to students who meet their specific criteria. If the student has an interest in a specific area of study, contact that department to see if they have any financial aid options. Many fields that require extensive research have fellowships or work-study programs for student. State universities in particular often have access to state money for these types of programs. The student performs detailed research in exchange for financial aid.
Applying for scholarships at state universities can be an ongoing process where students and their parents need to keep track of available scholarships.
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