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Article: Finding Online Scholarships for your Degree


By Marianne Salina
January 31, 2006
Online Education Degrees Contributor


So you've decided to take the plunge and pursue your degree online. This is an excellent choice, as the programs for online degrees have never been stronger, but what about the money? Find out how to secure the most in scholarship money to ease the burden of cost.

Education is one of the best investments you will ever make but regardless of the degree you are pursuing, chances are it comes with a large price tag. While the cost of a degree is one of the most important factors to consider as you research colleges, it's important to remember that a university's bottom line isn't necessarily fixed. There are hundreds of ways to pay for an education and with a little bit of research you can find online scholarships that match your profile and monetary needs. Whether you are pursuing an undergraduate degree or going back for graduate coursework, billions of dollars in grants, scholarships, and fellowships have been set aside to assist you in achieving your academic goals.

Get to Know Yourself First

One of the first steps in tapping into the huge reservoir of college funding is to find out for yourself exactly what you wish to accomplish. Most funding requires applications and essay questions that discuss your reasons for pursuing a degree. They will also ask that you outline your financial needs. Doing a little personal inventory will help you understand exactly what you are seeking and will enable you to better articulate your objectives. Begin with a few questions:

  • Why are you pursuing this degree?
  • What are your career goals, and how will this degree help you accomplish these aspirations?
  • Reflect upon your previous academic performance and extra-curricular activities. How do these commitments reflect the same aptitude you will bring to your degree program?
  • Consider circumstances that pose challenges and/or financial obstacles that stand in the way of your degree path. Write these down and discuss honestly how these impact your goals.
How to Pay for School: The Billion-Dollar Question

Once you have a clear idea of what you bring to the table as a student and which degree you're seeking, you are ready to see what the money holders can do for you. Begin your research online; this is the fastest way to see what is available by simply filling out a personal profile. Online scholarships originate from hundreds of different sources, both public and privately funded and most websites will perform searches for free. Many scholarships are tailored to a specific individual. For example, there may be funding available for a female student with a certain G.P.A. seeking a Bachelor's Degree. It will be your job to prove that you're the exact student for this scholarship!

Every Dollar Counts

While individual scholarships, grants, and financial aid usually cover only a small percentage of the overall cost on their own, no one is preventing you from applying for all the assistance you can. Merit and need-based scholarships will often surprise you with how much money they are willing to offer, especially if you prove yourself to be a worthy recipient. As you may already have found in applying to colleges, casting your net wide only increases your number of options. When it comes to free money, cast your net several times.

Sources:
  • Scholarship Search http://apps.collegeboard.com/cbsearch_ss/welcome.jsp
  • SRN Express: Frequently Asked Questions About Scholarships http://www.srnexpress.com/schfaq.cfm
About the Author:
Marianne Salina is a freelance writer in Spokane, Washington. She writes about pursuits in education and degree opportunities.