Outside scholarships and their effect on financial aid

For students who are not eligible for need-based financial aid, or for those who do not want to take out loans because of the amount that you must pay back, outside scholarships are a good way to finance their college education.

What is an outside scholarship?

An outside scholarship is any scholarship that is not awarded by the government or the school you are attending. It can be from a company, philanthropist, or foundation. It does not have to be repaid and is an honor that reflects your competence in a given field. You can also use it on your resumé.

Who gets an outside scholarship?

Generally, the sponsoring organization will award a scholarship based on merit and special qualifications, such as academic, athletic, or artistic talent. There are also scholarships for underrepresented groups, certain geographical areas, or financial need. The sponsoring organization decides who will receive the scholarship.

Tips for getting an outside scholarship

1. Prepare Early

Many prestigious scholarships will award their scholarship to high school seniors with a high GPA (over 3.0). Some have a deadline in the fall of your senior year, so the earlier you start your preparation, the better.

Scholarships also require essays, portfolios, and other things that should make you stand out from the crowd. If you have not thought about scholarships until the second semester of your senior year, it will be hard to win a scholarship. Prepare early!

2. Apply for the right ones

Use scholarship search tools like Fastweb to find the right scholarships for your field of interest. When you complete a profile, the system matches you to scholarships that you may qualify for.

If you are interested in programming, apply for a programming scholarship. If you want to become an artist, enter an art competition that awards scholarships. This will not only increase the likelihood of winning the scholarship, but also it will be helpful for your resumé.

3. Use your resources

Some people and organizations you should definitely ask for information are:

  • Your school’s counseling office. They may be aware of scholarships that you have never heard of before.
  • Your parents’ employer. Sometimes employers have scholarships for children of employees.
  • Professional sports teams
  • Professional and trade associations
  • Ethnic and cultural organizations
  • Religious organizations
  • Political parties and politicians
  • Military associations
  • Local governments
  • Private foundations and charities

4. Keep track of deadlines and information

When you are applying to a lot of different scholarships, keeping track of so much data can be confusing. To help combat this, you can:

  • Set up a separate email account just for scholarships.
  • Set up a calendar with all deadlines.

Also remember that submitting the application well before the deadline can be beneficial.

5. Foster a constructive relationship with your teachers and counselors

The more prestigious a scholarship is, the more likely it is that it will require recommendations and transcripts. Be sure that your teachers know your interests and abilities. Also, when they write your recommendations, give them a short written overview of your accomplishments, so that they can mention them in the recommendation letter.

What happens if you get an outside scholarship

Your financial aid package changes

If you are eligible for need-based financial aid and have submitted the FAFSA, your aid package will be accordingly reduced so that your total financial aid will not exceed the cost of attendance by more than $300. This is a federal rule, so that schools often do not have a choice in the matter.

However, schools will usually allow some room to tweak your financial aid package. For example, they can cover all unmet need first, before reducing your package. Also, certain grants, such as the Pell Grant, tend to stay the same. The outside scholarship is likely to affect campus-based aid first, such as the FSEOG Grant, Perkins Loan, Stafford Loan, Federal Work-Study, and the school’s own student aid funds.

You should contact your school directly for more details.

You must report it

If you get an outside scholarship, you must notify your school’s financial aid office. If you do not, you may be required to pay back all or part of your need-based financial aid package to the school or government.

Benefits of outside scholarships

Whatever your school’s specific policy on outside scholarships may be, you will benefit from outside scholarships because:

  • You do not need to pay them back. They're like grants, rather than loans.
  • Any unmet need usually gets covered first, before your financial aid package is reduced.
  • Scholarships are usually merit-based. It is an honor that you can list on your resumé.
  • Some schools offer other benefits to scholarship winners, such as priority in selecting a dorm room or an opportunity to work as a research assistant.
  • Even if you are over-awarded, you can negotiate with your school so that you will get the most from your scholarship award.
  • Even if you are over-awarded, you can negotiate with the sponsors so they can defer all or part of the award to a future year. This way, you can take advantage of the outside scholarship in future years, and your loan will be reduced first before any grants.
  • Some scholarships are full-tuition academic scholarships, which means that you will not need to worry about financial aid for that year.

How to look for scholarships

Title Description File type
A "How-to" guide to finding as many scholarships as possible.

Search Engines

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Scholarship Lists

For Undocumented Students

Students who are undocumented are not eligible for federal financial aid at SCI-Arc.  You can qualify for the SCI-Arc Admissions Scholarships and work-study.  However, that may not cover the entire cost of attendance.  We strongly suggest looking for outside scholarships.  The following list may help guide you to other resources on the internet. 
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Florida Resources

Search Engines

Sallie Mae Scholarship Search Tool    www.salliemae.com/scholarships
Collegeboard Scholarship Search        bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarship-search

Military Scholarship

Why was the Military Scholarship Essay Contest Created?

Everybody knows that education is valuable, but it can sometimes also be expensive. Paying for your education on top of everyday expenses can be difficult, and every little bit can help! Therefore, in an attempt to try to show gratitude to the sacrifices made by the United States of America’s military families, eLearners is offering a scholarship worth $1,000 to eligible military veterans and spouses in an effort to help offset the costs associated with enhancing your education and pursuing those next steps in your civilian career path.

Because financing one’s education can affect a whole family’s financial situation, all active military, veterans, as well as their spouses can apply for this scholarship. When awarded, the recipient can use the $1,000 tuition voucher for any cost associated with his or her school bursar’s office (some restrictions may apply based on the school). 

Military Scholarship Essay Contest Guidelines

In order to apply to the Military Scholarship Program, you will be required to submit a 250 word response to the following essay question about your service:

How has your military service better prepared you to enhance your education?

The deadline to submit your application is February 28, 2018. Notification will occur on or around May 31, 2018.

Military Scholarship Essay Contest Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must be military active duty, honorably discharged, veteran, or a spouse from any branch of the military.

This contest is open only to those legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of application and who are currently enrolled (or enroll no later than the fall of 2018) in an accredited post-secondary institution of higher learning (college, university, or trade school).

Please refer to our Official Scholarship Rules for more information.



Moreira Team Mortgage Scholarship

About US:  Moreira Team is a boutique mortgage lender built from the ground up to cater towards “Your” Financial needs, finding the best home loans for your situation not ours. The founders of Moreira Team Mortgage Brokers set out with the following primary goals in mind:

Make the Home Loan experience easier to understand, Be extremely helpful in tailoring the right home mortgage product to fit each home owner’s unique needs. Be as efficient as possible to insure an error free experience and create fast processing mortgage loans.

Moreira Team Mortgage Scholarship

MoreiraTeam.com is pleased to announce “TWO” $500 USD academic scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year which will take place annually.

Submission Deadlines:

  • Spring: April 1, 2018
  • Winter: November 15, 2017

We plan to continue the Scholarship every semester.

Previous Recipient:

Spring 2017: Lisa Hodge, Orange Technical College – Winter Park Campus

You can participate if you are:

  • 18 years or older.
  • Legal residents of the United States or Canada
  • Applicant must be a student who is currently enrolled in high school, college or university based in United States or Canada.
  • Having a Minimum GPA: 2.5

Scholarship Title: Moreira Team Mortgage Scholarship

How to Participate:

  • Choose a mortgage products and services topic relevant to “First Time Home Buyers, Getting Home Loan Ready, Financing Your Home, and Home Loan Ready Credit” and share your thoughts on the process through experience or research. You may use https://moreirateam.com/ as a research resource.
  • The essay must be original, well-though-out, well written, and ideally between 750+ words, although you may write a longer essay.
  • Read the rules and regulations, and make sure you comply with them or your submission could be void.
  • Please complete the form and attach essay below.
  • No fee to apply is required


  • April 15 for scholarships to be awarded for the following Fall semester
  • November 15 for the following Spring semester

NOTE: All essay submissions are used for the sole purpose of awarding an academic scholarship. Moreira Team will never sell or share applicant’s information.

Submit questions to the [email protected]



College Success Scholarship

We want to help you achieve your dreams of earning a college degree by giving you $1,000 towards your tuition!

College Scholarship Description

Over the past 15 years, in-state tuition for college has increased an overwhelming 296 percent. Students are graduating with debt that could follow them for 20 years. Study.com wants to help cut your college costs by offering you the chance to win our $1,000 College Success Scholarship. Fill out a short, easy application and receive a free scholarship to put towards achieving your college degree!

Scholarship Details:

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: April 1st, 2018
  • One Award Annually

Apply Now to Study.com's Scholarship for College Students!


Selection & Eligibility Criteria

Enrolled undergraduate or graduate students as well as high school seniors are encouraged to apply! Selection will be based on the free responses submitted by applicants. Financial need will not be considered.

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent U.S. Resident
  • Must be enrolled (or accepted) in an accredited college or university and planning on continuing the next year.
  • Graduating high school seniors who meet the above mentioned criteria may apply.
  • Must have a minimum of 30 semester or 45 quarter hours still to be completed.
  • Must consent to provide a digital photograph of self and quote for display on Study.com if notified as the award winner by the selection committee.

 Scholarship Award

The winner will be notified following the deadline, and the award will be sent directly to the recipient by check to the permanent mailing address noted in the application.

Academic award winners who accumulate more than $600.00 in prizes over a one-year period will be issued an IRS form 1099 (or the equivalent). This will require contest winners to provide Study.com with certain personal information prior to receipt of their winnings.

Scholarship Provider

The college scholarship award is provided by Study.com. The application process is completely online.