NEWARK, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Scholarships are the most-used resource to cover undergraduate expenses, yet a quarter of students don’t apply for them. For many, it comes down to a lack of awareness and broad assumptions that scholarships are only available for star students and stellar athletes. In honor of National Scholarship Month, and to help dispel these scholarship myths, Sallie Mae® is offering free tools, resources, and tips to help families access free money for college.
Sallie Mae’s Scholarship Search is free and home to 5 million scholarships collectively worth more than $24 billion. Students fill out a brief profile, and in minutes, the tool responds with matches that identify relevant scholarships, their award amounts, application requirements and deadlines. Last year, more than 20,000 students received more than $61 million collectively by using Scholarship Search. Sallie Mae also has a Graduate School Scholarship Search, home to 850,000 graduate school scholarships worth more than $1 billion.
Sallie Mae also offers a $1,000 monthly sweepstakes for those who sign up for Scholarship Search and other free college planning tools. To commemorate National Scholarship Month, the company is increasing the award to $5,000 for the month of November. For official rules visit https://www.salliemae.com/college-planning/registration. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.
“Empowering students and families to effectively plan for college with free tools and resources, like Scholarship Search, is a priority for Sallie Mae,” Martha Holler, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. “Education is a proven pathway to economic mobility. Helping people invest in themselves, particularly with thoughtful plans and resources on how to finance their dreams like college, has never been more important.”
In addition to its industry-leading scholarship search tools, Sallie Mae offers five tips to help students and families build their scholarship plans this month:
Start with the FAFSA. In order to qualify for $150 billion in financial aid, including scholarships, students and families should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible. Schools use this application to put together financial aid packages, states use it to determine eligibility for state aid, and it is required for many scholarship applications.
They’re not just for incoming freshmen. Approximately 50% of available scholarships are for students already enrolled in college, so high school seniors, current college students, and graduate school students, can and should apply for scholarships each year.
You don’t have to be an athlete or a math whiz. There are scholarships for being left-handed, for wearing a duct tape dress to prom, and for being a stellar baker. Students don’t need to be top of the class or an all-star quarterback; there are scholarships for nearly every interest, hobby, or background.
Every dollar counts. Not every scholarship is going to provide a full ride, but even the smallest of scholarships can start to add up. Remember: every scholarship dollar used to pay for college is a dollar that doesn’t need to come out of pocket or be borrowed. No scholarship is too small.
Avoid the scams. Never pay for scholarships, be wary of “guaranteed” money, and don’t be lured in by sites or organizations that charge a fee to access scholarship applications. For added comfort, consult school counselors and school financial aid offices, who can recommend reputable options.
Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) believes education and life-long learning, in all forms, help people achieve great things. As the leader in private student lending, we provide financing and know-how to help make college happen and offer products and resources to help customers make new goals and experiences, beyond college, possible. Learn more at SallieMae.com. Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.