Finding Scholarships to Fund Your College Education

Finding Scholarships to Fund Your College Education

(NewsUSA)- As economic conditions prompt consumers to cut back on spending, scholarships are an ever-more important way to help pay for college. Unlike other forms of financial aid, scholarships do not have to be repaid.
Sallie Mae's recent study on How America Pays for College, conducted by Gallup, found that 17 percent of students used scholarships to pay for college last year and that the average family covered 15 percent of the cost of college using a combination of grants and scholarships.
"In tough economic times like these, now is not the time to overpay for anything, particularly college," said Martha Holler, spokeswoman, Sallie Mae. "With a little bit of extra effort, students will find that scholarships can help them keep more of their money in their own pocket."
Scholarship awards range from a few dollars to a full tuition bill and are offered by private sources in addition to federal and state governments. Students and parents can quickly identify the scholarships they may be eligible for by using Sallie Mae's free online Scholarship Search, which includes information about more than 2.9 million scholarships worth more than $16 billion. The Scholarship Search is available at www.SallieMae.com/scholarships and through a new "widget" that allows any organization -; including high schools, colleges and other community organizations -; to easily make the free tool accessible on the organization's own Web site. Organizations can visit www.SallieMae.com/widget and simply copy and paste the code into any page on their own Web site.
Families can see the value of scholarship contributions by using Sallie Mae's Education Investment Planner (www.SallieMae.com/plan) to customize their own pay-for-college plan. Using the Planner, families may estimate the total cost of a college degree, build a plan to pay for college and estimate the salary a graduate would need to keep repayment of student loans manageable. The Planner helps families understand the total cost of college and how to pay for it without going beyond their means.