Financial Friday: Scholarship Hunting: A Continuous Process for Any Student

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So many cost-saving options for making college more affordable exist. From loans and grants, to working, to budgeting, and many more methods, dents in the costs of college start to accumulate in effectiveness when put together. However, the most effective cost-cutting mechanism for college is often the simplest. Scholarships are effective in making college more affordable, and certain incoming Pitt students will receive merit scholarships after being accepted. Regardless of whether you do or do not receive that aid, the time to subsidize the cost of school with scholarships has come nowhere close to its conclusion.

An abundance of scholarships exist both inside and outside the University of Pittsburgh, and your chance at receiving scholarship aid is dictated, at least in part, by how much time and effort you put into applying. University of Pittsburgh Academic Scholarships are the main forms of merit aid qualified students receive upon entering the university.

Other University academic scholarships such as the Stamps Scholarship and Nordenberg Scholars Program do however require separate applications. University academic scholarships tend to apply to incoming freshman. International, transfer, and continuing students who were not awarded a scholarship as an incoming freshman are not eligible for these scholarships.

If you no longer qualify a University academic scholarship, do not fret just yet. Your school within the university may offer scholarships to continuing students, regardless of what they did or did not receive as incoming freshmen. For example, Pitt’s College of Business Administration offers a list of their own scholarships for students currently enrolled in the school.

Thinking about studying abroad? The Pitt Study Abroad Office lists many Study Abroad scholarships provided by both the office itself and by schools such as the College of Business Administration and the Swanson School of Engineering, to name a couple. Do not go abroad without checking out these types of scholarships on the Pitt Study Abroad site.

Lots of scholarship options from different sources have already been covered within the university, and more exist, so make sure to always keep an eye out around the university to see what you might be eligible for. However, do not contain your search to exclusively within Pitt. Countless non-university scholarships are offered by outside organizations. Look around for these outside scholarships both within your hometown and within the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Just make sure you’re careful when searching and applying for these outside scholarships.

“While searching for scholarships is always smart, you will also want to be sure you are protecting yourself from organizations that may not be helpful.” Said Janet McLaughlin, Pitt’s Associate Director of Financial Aid.

Some outside scholarships require a fee upfront to apply for a scholarship. While this alone does not necessarily make a scholarship listing illegitimate, it should be a signal to be cautious. Don’t give out personal information, such as your social security number, and research the organization offering the scholarship in order to ensure its legitimacy.

The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid assists students online in searching for outside scholarships by listing search engine links on its website under the “Financial Aid” tab in “Types of Financial Aid.” This list includes, but is not limited to, the College Board and Fastweb. These sites, and sites like these make the process of searching for scholarships much simpler by aggregating the listings in one place. Check them periodically to see what you qualify for, and apply.

The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is also currently implementing a web-based scholarship system, which will be available in the near future, so stay tuned for more information.

With the amount of scholarships available, your chances of receiving one might be better than you believe. Take it from Pitt Financial Aid Counselor Lindsay Smith in regards to scholarship hunting. “The only mistake I think students can make is to not apply because they think they will not get it. All scholarships have different criteria. There are scholarships out there for anyone to apply for. You will never know if you qualify unless you apply,” said Smith.

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" John Hamilton : @jham1496 Managing Editor."